Call us today to schedule an Appointment! 801-764-9444

The Effects of Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers on Your Child’s Teeth

Little Boy Sucking Thumb

If there’s one activity that all babies are guaranteed to perform at some point, it is thumb sucking. The activity relates to the natural instinct for a baby to want to suckle on its mother’s breast in order to receive nutrients from her milk, and even when not breastfeeding the activity may still occur well into the child’s third, fourth, or even fifth year in extreme cases. The habit itself acts to reassure growing babies and in many instances can be considered a sleep aid; but as far as oral development goes – it should be stopped as quickly as possible.

Parents have been using pacifiers for decades now, and their name suggests exactly why. When a child is suckling on a teat of some form, their instinct is to drift off to sleep – especially at a younger age. During this time, a pacifier really isn’t a concern (beyond being a choking hazard), and this is because your baby will most likely not possess any teeth within their gum line.

As soon as teeth start to show however, it’s a good idea to begin weaning your child off of their pacifier or thumb sucking habits – and it’s all because of the way that their teeth may be effected. The front teeth will do their best to grow downwards and this is a genetic element that most people will possess. There are genetic cases where teeth may not grow straight, and in these instances our Orem dentists would recommend braces to help to rectify the event; but it’s not uncommon for thumb sucking and pacifiers to play a role, too.

The Effects of Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers

As your child sucks their thumb or their pacifier, they will be putting a consistent level of pressure on their front teeth. Over time, this pressure will cause the teeth to grow outwards, and the result is that one or more teeth can begin to continue their growth in that way. As the child gets older, their teeth will become prominently noticeable – and by this point not even braces will be able to rectify the matter, as they are better suited to guiding tooth growth as it is taking place, and not after the growth has completed.

There is of course the chance that your child’s teeth will fall out as their adult teeth come through, and as long as the sucking has ceased by this point, there is no reason why the adult teeth shouldn’t grow straight. A little known fact is that if the roots are forced to grow angular as a result of sucking as a child, then even the adult teeth may grow at that same angle.

More to explorer

It's time to clean those pearly whites!