Does your child suck their thumb or use a pacifier?
If the answer is yes, be careful how dependent your child becomes on this. Thumb sucking and over use of a pacifier can cause permanent damage if not stopped at the correct age. Typically if we see a 4 year old still sucking a pacifier or their thumb, oral appliances may be recommended which make it difficult for the child to resume the habit.
Your child should stop sucking their thumb of using a pacifier around the age of 2-4
Over time these habits can start to affect the mouth. Top front teeth flare out, bottom front teeth flare in, the upper and lower jaws can become misaligned and the shape of the roof of the mouth can be affected. Typically children should stop the habit between the ages of 2-4. Parents and family members can help encourage children to break this habit before permanent damage is done. Approaches that work well are praising your child for not sucking their thumb or pacifier, rather than scolding them for doing so. Children often resort to this habit when their feel insecure or if they are bored. Keep children entertained and constantly show them affection. A reward system can also help break the habit. It is best to give your baby a pacifier at night and then immediately take it away in the morning so the baby does not become dependent on the pacifier.
If you notice changes in your child’s teeth and surrounding structures make sure to contact us, and bring them into Oak Family Dental for more great tips on how to break the habit!