Why are pacifiers and thumb-sucking so harmful?

Every child is born with a natural sucking reflex – it is essential for the survival of the baby. The sucking reflex is already triggered by touching the lips, tongue or palate. Since a baby is already capable of moving its arms consciously by the age of six to twelve weeks, it is quite easy to satisfy the sucking reflex using pacifier or thumb. Children should not be hindered violently doing so. You should better provide your child with an age-appropriate pacifier.

Important to know:
Pacifiers are unnatural foreign bodies, which can deform the primary dentition strongly due to the shaft of the pacifier – particularly after a regular and constant use. A frequent usage can cause an „open bite“, which means that the incisors are pushed into the jaw – the teeth can not bite off properly. Furthermore the articulation is affected - speech defects (e. g. lisping) can be the result.


Sucking leads to a negative pressure in the mouth. This negative pressure can particularly affect the upper jaw and cause a narrow jaw. Additionally a big pacifier displaces the tongue when using it constantly – both circumstances will lead to cross bite of the anterior teeth and an open bite.

A mandibular retrusion of the lower jaw in the primary dentition effects a narrow jaw and the growth of the jaw.


The narrow jaw caused by the negative pressure, inhibits the growth of the lower jaw. This can cause a mandibular retrusion of the lower jaw (so-called hare teeth).

Potruding incisors in the primary dentition caused by using a pacifier.

´Orthodontic´ pacifiers

The so-called ´orthodontic´ pacifiers are available in two different sizes: for children up to the age of six months (toothless babies) and for children from the age of seven months (first milk teeth). The pacifier should only be used to calm the child when screaming or being restless.

If a pacifier is inevitable, you should consider certain criteria concerning the selection and usage:

  • Latest by the age of two the usage of the pacifier (or/and thumb-sucking) should be restricted and given up
  • Choose a pacifier with a thin shaft
TIP: Pay attention to the size of the shaft when choosing the pacifier!

Please ask your dentist or pharmacist!

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