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Can Using a Dummy Ruin My Child’s Teeth?

Sucking a dummy is a common tool used by many parents to help settle their children, particularly during the early years.

Many parents ask us if a dummy can cause problems to their child’s teeth and gums.

If a child is phased out of using a dummy before their adult teeth come through, then this eliminates most concerns. A clean dummy usually has no effect on the health of teeth. A dummy that is flavoured or a child that is put to sleep with a bottle of milk can cause widespread decay or what we call, rampant childhood caries

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Long term use of a dummy can lead to:

  • Displacement of a child’s front teeth, 
  • Speech development issues
  • Complications when biting down 
  • Aesthetic concerns that may impact a child’s self-esteem. 
  • Mouth breathing


To prevent these problems, it is best advised to begin phasing out the dummy when a child is one year old, well before adult teeth start coming through. By the age of 5 years old, when adult teeth are coming through, the dummy should be a distant memory. The first few days will always be the most difficult, start gently by taking it away when the child has already fallen asleep. 

Another concern may be when a child begins to suck their thumb or fingers when their dummy is taken away. This becomes a more serious problem and can have a long-term impact on the growth of a child’s teeth and jaw. 

To break a child’s thumb sucking habit, liaise with your dental professional at Sensational Smiles Dental for helpful tips to suit your child. Some commonly used techniques include:

  • Praising your child when they don’t suck their thumb
  • Look for causative factors such as a particular time of day, or an activity your child may struggle with 
  • Have a bandage on your child’s hand that serves as a reminder to stop
  • A bitter nail polish may lessen the appeal of thumb sucking
  • Finally, always include your child in the decision-making process so that they are enabled to make healthy choices. 

At every appointment at Sensational Smiles Dental, your child’s teeth and jaw will be screened for any orthodontic or malalignment issues to aid in early intervention and treatment.