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Most babies suck their thumbs or hands. The habit is both normal and harmless.

Children tend to stop sucking their thumbs on their own between the ages of 2 and 4. However, once your toddler begins to grow front teeth, thumbsucking can result in:

  • Bite problems
  • Misaligned permanent teeth
  • Dental issues
  • Sore, callused thumbs
  • Infections

The more vigorous the thumbsucking, the more intense the potential damage.

Treating Thumbsucking

Some pediatricians may recommend a pacifier to substitute for thumbs, since pacifiers:

  • Are soft, causing less damage
  • Can be cleaned

At UVA, we recommend that you see a pediatrician or pediatric dentist to discuss your concerns for your child’s dental health.