Babies have an innate sucking reflex, which makes them feel relaxed and soothed. Pacifiers satisfy this innate instinct and help your child to settle and feel calmer. But while babies often feel at ease with their soother, their parents do not.
From as early as the 29th week of pregnancy, embryos suck their thumbs and once born, babies often use their thumb as a “natural soother” to calm themselves. It’s often not possible to prevent babies from sucking at all. However, from a dental point of view, the baby’s thumb is the least suitable option for satisfying a baby’s instinct for sucking. The thumb can’t deform during sucking to fit the shape of your baby’s jaw and this leads to pressure on your baby’s mouth that can end up leading to long-term tooth and jaw misalignments. Often these need to be corrected by orthodontic treatment.
In addition, it can be very difficult to try and wean your child off thumb sucking later, because your child’s thumb is always “close at hand” and unlike a soother is obviously not something you can remove from your child’s reach.
Are pacifiers better than thumb sucking?
First things first: if you use a pacifier selectively, then they are a good aid for soothing and comforting and for helping your baby get to sleep.
However, we are of the same opinion as many dentists and do not recommend soothers for round-the-clock, uninterrupted use because that too would increase the risk of dental misalignments later in life.
But when your child wishes to satisfy its need to suck, a soother is a better option than their thumb, because you can use a soother selectively and it exerts less pressure on the child’s jaw – this is especially true of a dentally endorsed soother like the Dentistar.