Thumb sucking mainly impacts on children’s speech after the permanent teeth start coming through. This is because thumb sucking may affect the development of the palate (roof if the mouth) and the teeth. This malalignment may impact on a child’s speech production and clarity.

Dummies may not impact on a child’s speech development in the early years if they are used only at night.

Dummies can be detrimental if a child is allowed to suck on it all day. As it may impact on their babbling and imitation of sounds / words.

Dummies are more likely to affect children’s speech after 2 years of age, if the child has the dummy in his / her mouth all day. When the dummy is the mouth all day, these children learn to speak around the dummy. This may affect accurate sound production and speech clarity. It may also impact on their dental alignment.

Dummies may:

  1.  Prevent a child from being able to copy words back with accuracy.
  2. Prevent a child from saying sounds (e.g. ‘l’, ‘n’ ‘t’ ‘d’). These sounds require the tongue to be touching the top front area of the palate.