Dummies, thumb sucking, 

and your baby’s teeth

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Many parents have questions about their baby's teeth and that is often around the subject of dummies, bottles and thumb-sucking. As part of our Baby Teeth blog series we'll answer your common questions on an area we know can spark lots of debate. 

Dummies and thumb sucking – is it normal? 

We’ve all seen babies that suck on dummies, blankets, fingers or thumbs (you may even have been one yourself). This is normal habit for babies to pick up, but can have long term consequences if it last too long.

When does a sucking habit start?

Lots of babies start to suck on dummies, blankets, fingers or thumbs, usually when they are around 3 months old. Most children will grow out of a sucking habit by the time they are 2 years old.

Does a sucking habit matter? 

In most cases a sucking habit is not a problem, particularly when children grow out of it, usually when they are around 2. That said, if the habit persists later, it can have a long term impact on your child’s teeth. The longer this habit lasts, the harder it is to break. If a sucking habit lasts until they are 6 or 7 years old, it is more likely to affect how their adult teeth grow through. This can change how their teeth look, as well as how well they can bite down on food. They may need braces to correct this in the future.

Will all children with a sucking habit have tooth problems?

No, not everyone with a sucking habit will have tooth problems. These are more likely in children who suck harder, more often, and for more years. These are more likely to change the way the adult teeth come through.


What can I do about my child’s sucking habit? 

Positive encouragement is key! Keep your input upbeat and fun. It can help to:

Praise them when they aren’t sucking  

Try a wall chart and daily reward system 

What if nothing works and I’m concerned? 

If you’re worried you can speak to your dentist who can give you support. They can also refer you to a specialist if needed. 


A sucking habit is a normal part of development for many babies. Most toddlers grow out of it naturally. If your child finds it a tough habit to break, try positive reinforcement and rewards. If you have concerns as they get older, ask a dentist for advice.

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