Pacifiers & Thumb-Sucking: Things You Should Know From A Dentist

We are thankful to partner with South Mississippi Smiles for this post. We strive to provide helpful information for families on the Gulf Coast.

Pacifiers and thumb sucking things you should know from a dentist South Mississippi smiles Gulf Coast Mom
It’s natural to want to stop your child’s tears with their favorite stuffed animal or pacifier. They are having a hard time sleeping and you know they’ll fade away quickly with their thumb or pacifier. This practice is a natural reflex for a lot of children.

Whether you call it a “Paci”, “Soothie”, etc. — this can be bad for your little kiddo long term.

But why?…

Our friends at South Mississippi Smiles have recommendations to help kick the habit to the curb!

Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking – Things you should know south Mississippi smilesWhen do kids stop sucking their thumbs?

Every child is different, but typically children stop sucking their thumbs between ages 2-4, or when their permanent teeth come in. We recommend consulting your dentist if you are worried about pacifier use or thumb-sucking after this age.

How can this affect your child’s teeth?

This can not only affect the way their teeth operate and look after they come in, but it can also affect the roof of their mouth.

The intensity of the habit will determine whether this affects their baby teeth. But it will undoubtedly affect permanent teeth if it continues after permanent tooth growth.

Most importantly, how can I prevent this from becoming an issue? 

  • Praise/reward child for not doing it.
  • When this habit involves an older child, involve them in the conversation and process of making the concerted decision to avoid it.
  • These practices can be rooted from the child looking for comfort. So focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety and providing comfort to your child in another way.
  • Distract by putting a sock on the hand at night or bandaging the thumb.
  • Some dentists or pediatricians may prescribe a bitter medication to coat the thumb or for more severe cases, the use of a mouth guard.

Our dentists at South Mississippi Smiles can offer encouragement to your child and explain what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop sucking.

Girl at South Mississippi smiles

South Mississippi Smiles is proud to have been voted Parents and Kids Magazine 2021 Family Favorites Best Dentist. Serving the entire Gulf Coast with locations in Gulfport and Pascagoula, find South Mississippi Smiles online at
Also be sure to check out their new online portal which gives you the option to add, edit or change aspects of your dental appointment with just a click, at any time that is convenient for you!