Thumb vs. pacifier

My husband, a dentist, would prefer our newborn to suck a pacifier rather than her thumb. What are your thoughts on this?


There is some logic to this thinking. First, there are pacifiers which are manufactured to be "orthodontically correct." While this labeling should not lull parents into a false sense of security as far as developing orthodontic problems, these pacifiers are preferred by most dentists. Thumbs or fingers are not "orthodontically correct."

The other part of the logic is that a baby or young child can place quite a bit of pressure against the palate and front teeth with a thumb or finger(s). This pressure is more likely to cause development of a high palate, an open bite (vertical gap between upper and lower front teeth), and/or an overbite (horizontal gap between upper and lower front teeth). While these conditions may also occur with prolonged use of an orthodontically correct pacifier, they are usually less serious.

One more reason why sucking a pacifier might be more advantageous is that it is easier to "lose" a pacifier. Parents often tell their child that they have "lost" the pacifier in an attempt to discourage maturing infants from using them.

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