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Have you ever given your child a pacifier? Have you caught them sucking their thumb? Do you ever wonder if either of these habits is safe?

As you’ve probably realized, your child typically sucks their thumb for comfort. Thumb sucking is natural and typically won’t cause problems for young children. Sadly, if your child sucks their thumb after they are six years old, they could slant their teeth or damage the top of their mouth. Fortunately, most children   stop sucking their thumbs on their own before they are six years old.

Similarly, it is normal and safe for your child to suck on a pacifier until they are four years old. If your child sucks on a pacifier after they are four years old, the roof of their mouth may be much narrower, their teeth could tilt, and their jaw could misalign.

But what can you do if your child still uses a pacifier or still sucks their thumb after the safe age limit? If you would like to stop your child from using a pacifier, we recommend simply taking the pacifier. Unlike your child’s thumb, you can simply take the pacifier away. However, if you decide this route is best for you, please remember to search for extra pacifiers. Many parents have been surprised to learn that their child had kept a hidden pacifier.

Also, be careful when covering your child’s thumb. While it may help, it can also cause anxiety that actually increases their desire to suck. Finally, since thumb sucking and pacifiers are used to reduce anxiety, we recommend not punishing your child for sucking as this may cause increase anxiety. Instead, please reward them for abstaining.

If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact us soon. We will gladly answer any questions you have.