Each child may exhibit different tendencies for sucking on thumbs, fingers, and pacifiers. Typically children will stop by the age of 4. It is important to monitor your child’s behavior to prevent any damage from occurring to their permanent teeth. The frequency, duration, and intensity of the habit will determine if your child is at risk for future dental problems.
If your child is using a pacifier it is important to provide a clean pacifier and avoid putting it in your mouth before giving the pacifier to your child. Avoid sugar or honey on a pacifier as it can expose early teeth to decay risk.
It is also recommended to discourage frequent and prolonged use of sippy cups past a child’s first birthday. Another important factor to the development of a child’s teeth is monitoring excessive sugar exposure. The high sugar content of juice and soda can lead to decay that may damage a child’s early teeth.
Dr. Simer and your pediatrician are valuable resources for any parent to discuss questions about your child’s early habits and their influence on further development.