The experience of becoming a parent can be rewarding and stressful, especially for first-time parents. Our kids dentist in Rancho Cucamonga can’t eliminate all uncertainties, but we can undoubtedly offer helpful advice regarding pacifiers, thumbsucking, and your child’s dental health.
There are many benefits to sucking your thumb and using a pacifier.
According to the American Dental Association, a baby’s natural reflex is to suck on things. As babies grow from infancy to toddlerhood, thumbsucking or giving them a pacifier can help them feel happy and safe. Pacifiers and thumbsucking offer some advantages for the baby and the parents. Here are some examples:
There has been evidence that pacifiers reduce the risk of SIDS.
- They keep them calm when they are apart from you.
- They help your baby sleep, thereby helping you too.
What not to do when it comes to thumbsucking and pacifiers?
This habit doesn’t cause damage until the child has their permanent teeth, so you don’t have to attempt to discourage it before your child is four years old. Children under the age of two may not understand why their parents want them to stop sucking their thumbs or pacifiers, which is why they are more likely to get frustrated.
Be careful with topical remedies that make the thumb taste unpleasant, as they can be harmful or ineffective.
When Should You Start Weaning Your Child?
Most parents have concerns about thumbsucking, mainly whether or not it will result in crooked teeth as they grow up. However, it may be a problem as the child gets older and adult teeth come in. Around toddler age, most children will stop sucking their thumbs independently. Keep encouraging your child to stop sucking their thumb or pacifier.
The result of thumbsucking may lead to permanent palate changes in their mouths. There may be less damage to the dental alignment with a pacifier. If by the age of three, your child is still using a pacifier, you can easily break the habit by taking it away from them.
The Best Ways to Wean Thumbsuckers
It may be harder to wean your child off of sucking their thumb. But we have put together some helpful tips for you:
- If they continue sucking their thumb, praise their achievements instead of scolding them.
- Please keep track of their goals by using a rewards chart.
- Keep them busy with art and craft activities that they can do with their hands.
- While they sleep, cover their hands with socks so their thumbs can’t reach them. To prevent them from pulling the socks off, you may tape them down.
Don’t hesitate to speak to us if you are concerned about your child’s thumbsucking habit or pacifier use. Besides answering your questions, we can also help you develop a strategy to support your child’s dental development. Contact our orthodontics office in Rancho Cucamonga, CA today.