Sucking on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects is a natural reflex for children. It may make babies feel secure and happy and help them learn about their world.
Young children may also suck to soothe themselves and help them fall asleep. This behaviour is typically developmentally appropriate and is nothing to worry about. However, talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned about your child’s thumb-sucking habit.
- After permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth.
- Pacifiers can affect the teeth in essentially the same ways as sucking fingers and thumbs, but it is often an easier habit to break.
- Children usually stop sucking between the ages of two and four, or by the time the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt.
“The intensity of the sucking is a factor that determines whether or not dental problems may result. If children rest their thumbs passively in their mouths, they are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs.”