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Thumb sucking

​Thumb sucking is a common and natural activity for your baby.

It's generally harmless if it stops before the age of five.

Marshfield Clinic Pediatricians and Dental professionals want you and your family to have health teeth and gums.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is one of the most common habits of children. The habit starts early in life, with 90% of newborns showing some form of hand sucking by 2 hours of age.

Thumb sucking is normal in infants and young children and should cause no permanent problems if it is not continued past the age of 5. Likewise, it is generally harmless for infants to use pacifiers.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that most children stop thumb sucking on their own between the ages of 2 and 4. The Academy states there is no reason to be concerned until the front teeth start erupting.

At this point, some problems may occur, including bite problems, or protruding front teeth. The intensity of the thumb sucking is a factor in determining if problems might develop.

If your child is an aggressive thumb sucker and damage is being done to the primary (baby) teeth, see your dentist. Other problems that may occur with thumb sucking are sore thumbs, infections, and calluses on the thumb.

It is thought that pacifier use may actually be better than thumb sucking for the following reasons:

  • Pacifiers are softer and cause less damage to the teeth.

  • The plastic rim on the pacifier provides some relief of the tension placed on the teeth.

  • Pacifiers can be cleaned.

Talk to your child's healthcare provider or dentist if you are concerned with your child's thumb sucking.


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Brushing Up on Healthy Teeth

Keeping your teeth healthy sounds simple: Brush and floss twice a day and see your dentist twice a year. The trouble is, simple as that sounds, you may need to know more. It's not that dental health is hard—it's easy. But give this true-false quiz a try to see just how much you know about keeping your teeth their brightest, whitest, and healthiest.

1. You must brush and floss your teeth after every meal to prevent gum disease and cavities.
2. Brushing your teeth with an up-and-down or side-to-side motion is the best way to clean your teeth.
3. You can floss your teeth by simply putting the floss between your teeth and pulling it through.
4. Toothbrushes with angled heads and 2 levels of bristles are better than those with straight heads and 1 level of bristles.
5. Motorized toothbrushes clean your teeth better than manual brushes.
6. Brushing too much can harm your gums.
7. You should use a dental rinse along with brushing and flossing to remove plaque.
8. Toothpastes that contain baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can help reduce plaque acids made by plaque bacteria.
9. You should see your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings.
10. If your parents lost all their teeth to tooth decay or gum disease, you will too.