Previous Next Tooth Eruption Guide Note: Not all children fall within these age ranges! Thumb/finger sucking and pacifier habits Non-nutritive sucking behaviors are considered normal in infants and young children. Prolonged (past the age of three) non-nutritive sucking habits have been associated with unfavorable tooth position and jaw development. Habits of sufficient frequency, duration and intensity tend to do more damage. Age appropriate guidelines Infants (under 12 months): allow habit, if necessary. Substitute pacifier for thumb/finger if possible. Toddlers (12-24 months): Limit habit to sleep times only with verbal reminders and distraction. Pre-school age (2+ years): Develop an age appropriate reward system to reward children when they are not sucking their thumb, pacifier or fingers. School age (5+ years): Continue with reward system (may add physical reminders such as wrapping medical tape around thumb/finger). Children must be ready to stop the habit. If they are not, parental efforts to get them to stop can create a negative experience for everyone involved.