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Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers Can Harm Your Precious Teeth

Hiya Hi-5 kids (and parents)!

We know sucking your thumb and your binky (pacifier) is oh-so-comforting and satisfying, but don’t be a “sucker,” stop sucking your thumb!

To make it easy for you, YES, sucking your thumb can negatively affect your teeth and the rest of your mouth. Thumb sucking or using a pacifier is an absolutely natural reflex within infants. However, continuing to suck on things exerts force on your teeth and can even change the alignment of your jaws. Not good!

Sucking a thumb, finger, pacifier, or whatever else you can get your lips on, can cause the growth of teeth or jaws to be stunted. Changes within the bone structure can occur within less than 18 months of sucking.


There are many common problems that are caused by prolonged sucking. Take a look to see the difficulties that can arise below:

  • Sucking can cause the front teeth to protrude. Protruding teeth means that teeth begin to stick out in “buck teeth” fashion. 
  • Buck teeth can make it hard for people to comfortably close their mouths, causes speech impediments, increases the risk for impact-traumas (bumping, chipping, and knocking-out teeth), and can make children subject for those big-bad-bullies to pick on. 
  • It can create a situation where the upper and lower teeth do not overlap (also called an “open bite”). An open bite can create issues with swallowing and speech. 
  • A crossbite can occur. This is where the upper teeth end up fitting inside the lower teeth rather than the other way around.
  • If crossbites are not corrected and speedily treated, the jaw bone can shift to the side, causing a lopsided-looking and uncomfortable feeling jaw joint.

If you’re noticing your child thumb sucking or using a pacifier for prolonged periods of time, you should consult with your friendly family orthodontist. An orthodontist will help to identify the orthodontic concerns that are related to the bad habit of sucking.


At Hi-5 Orthodontics, we can help to correct the oral habit of thumb sucking and pacifier overuse. We can offer early treatment plans that will help your child kick their bad habit. We can also assist in correcting any problems that have already occurred from too much thumb sucking or pacifier use. 

Our orthodontists are specially trained in dentofacial orthopedics. What’s that, you ask? Orthodontic treatments manage the movement of teeth, while dentofacial orthopedics is designed to guide facial growth and development. Because facial growth and development happens mostly during childhood, kids make the best candidates for this type of therapy. 

Dentofacial Orthopedics, like a palate expander (or suture) can help the jaws grow and develop in healthier directions. A palate expander creates more room in a child’s mouth, allowing teeth to grow into their proper positions. Basically, we often need to create “more space” to allow the healthy adult teeth to come into place correctly.


By bringing your children in to see a Hi-5 Orthodontics doctor at a young age, we can help correct and prevent any current or future problem. 

Schedule an appointment with Hi-5 Ortho today so we can assist with the following:

  • Support children in correcting harmful oral habits (like sucking)
  • Palate Expanders will properly guide the jaw’s growth
  • Keep teeth from protruding (risk for impact traumas and chipping)
  • Work to guide permanent, adult-teeth into better positions

You can trust the friendly orthodontists at Hi-5 Orthodontics! We work our hardest to give our kiddos the best and healthiest smiles they can possibly have. While we love working with children as early as possible, we can help you achieve a perfected smile at any age. 

Our orthodontists are absolutely experts in all things orthodontics-related! They offer a range of services in dentofacial orthopedics to make sure all teeth are properly aligned with the jaws. Hi-5 doctors have the skills, knowledge and state-of-the-art technology to keep you smiling your happiest, healthiest and fullest smile possible.