Sucking is a normal baby reflex. It helps babies feel secure and happy and helps them learn about their world. Babies may suck their thumbs, fingers, or hands, or a pacifier. Most children stop the habit d between the ages of 2 and 4 years.
* Babies who suck their thumbs usually continue the habit longer than pacifier users.
* Prolonged thumb sucking may cause problems with proper growth and development of the mouth and the alignment of teeth. It also can cause changes in the roof of the mouth.
* The most common dental effect of thumb sucking and pacifier use
is upward movement of the maxillary central incisors and palatal bone, which may result in an anterior open bite. Other possible effects include maxillary constriction and posterior crossbite.
* Children should be encouraged to discontinue their sucking habits by 4 years of age.
* Pacifiers should never be dipped in sugary substances such as honey and sugar.
* Pacifier use during sleep is associated with a decreased incidence of sudden infant death syndrome.
* Pacifiers should never be used to replace or delay meals and should be offered only when the caregiver is certain the child is not hungry.
*Pacifiers should have ventilation holes and a shield wider than the child’s mouth.
* Pacifiers should be one piece and made of a durable
material, replaced when worn, and never tied by a
string to the crib or around a child’s neck or hand.