Tooth Eruption Guide

Note: Not all children fall within these age ranges!

Thumb/finger sucking and pacifier habits

baby sucking thumb
  • 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.