If I told you not to try and stop your child from sucking his/her thumb until they were ready, would you be shocked?
Children engage in non-nutritive sucking (pacifiers, thumbs, blankets, etc.) primarily as a comfort. Often, sucking helps them fall asleep more easily. It’s true that non-nutritive sucking can impact growth and alignment of the mouth and teeth. Prolonged sucking creates dental and skeletal changes, including bite problems and defects in the palate that may require orthodontic treatment to reverse. There is also an association between pacifiers and increased acute middle ear infections. These habits do need to be corrected at the right time.