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Is sucking on a pacifier any better for a baby's dental health than sucking on a thumb? our daughter sucks her thumb all of the time, and we've heard about the damage it can do to a child's teeth. since pacifiers are softer, we were hoping we could someho

5 doctor answers16 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Wollock
Dentistry 29 years experience
LA, Neither : La, neither is good for dental health, just good for mom's mental health. Having three kids myself, I have experienced all three situations. One with his thumb, one with a pacifier, and one didn't need anything. I am in favor of the thumb over the pacifier: we never lost the thumb or left it at home. The thumb never fell on the floor, but who knows what it was touching. You always had a spare. They eventually can apply it themselves. Both will cause the same palatial protrusion after prolonged use (years) usually requiring orthodontic intervention (palatal expansions). Hope this is helpful, michael i. Wollock, dmd, agd fellow dentistry at suburban square 610-649-0313 www.Dentistryatsuburbansquare.Com.
Dr. Harry Aronowitz
Orthodontics 44 years experience
Yes! : Yes! a pacifier is the lesser of the two evils. 1) the thumb transfer the weight of the whole arm and leverages off the lower front teeth to exert an upward pressure against the palate changing the shape of the palate. 2) orthodontic pacifiers are available that are flatter than your child's thumb that will cause less distortion of her front teeth. 3) you can wean her off the pacifier and eventually take it away. My grandchildren helped pack them up and brought the to the mailbox to send them to a nonexistent younger child.
Dr. Gary Chapman
Orthodontics 35 years experience
No: Any unusual, outside force will influence your child's facial development. Facial growth in the presence of a sucking habit can lead to narrow upper jaw with crossbites and a long lower face. The airway is also affected and will not develop properly, these kids generally breath through their mouth. Thumb, pacifier sucking is mostly for mom....Work out a plan to remove the sucking habit asap.
Dr. David Schleimer
A Verified Doctoranswered
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Pacifier better: But it is likely too late. Your child always has access to the thumb, and it can do significant harm especially if respiratory patterns and facial growth pattern is genetically problematic. Pacifier usually smaller and bears less weight than the thumb. Any sucking habit will tend to narrow the upper jaw and cause front tooth occlusion to be harmed.
Dr. Arnold Malerman
Orthodontics 53 years experience
Pacifier: Thumb is more portable, with you all the time, and pushes back against teeth/jaws. Pacifier is passive, doesn't do as much damage, easier to get rid of no later than age 4. Ask a pediatric dental specialist for help (1st dental ck-up age 1).

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Last updated Nov 14, 2017

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