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Maternal and Child Health Bureau logoA Health Professionals Guide to Pediatric Oral Health Management
HomeModuleModule 1: An Introduction to Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 2: Managing Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 3: Oral Conditions and AbnormalitiesModule 4: Prevention of Oral DiseaseModule 5: Non-Nutritive Sucking HabitsModule 6: Oral InjuryModule 7: Infants and Young Children with Special Health Care NeedsContentsGlossaryEvaluationHelp
Module 5: Non-nutritive Sucking Habits
Module Contents
Overview (current page)
5.1 Sucking — A Normal, Healthy Reflex
5.2 Childhood Patterns of Non-nutritive Sucking
5.3 Choosing a Pacifier
5.4 Effects of
Non-nutritive Sucking
5.5 Interventions for
Non-nutritive Sucking
Key Points
Additional Resources


Module 5 discusses the different types of non-nutritive sucking that many infants and young children engage in. It explains why infants and young children need to suck and why this is a normal and healthy behavior. The module describes precautions that parents can take to ensure their infant’s or child’s safety if a pacifier is used. In addition, the module discusses the effects that a non-nutritive sucking habit may have on older children and the steps that health professionals can take to help children stop the habit.


Learning Objectives

Explain what non-nutritive sucking is and why infants and young children engage in this behavior.


Explain the benefits of non-nutritive sucking for infants and young children.


Discuss childhood patterns of non-nutritive sucking.


Explain how to choose a pacifier.


Describe the effects of non-nutritive sucking habits on older children’s teeth.


List the steps to take to help a child stop sucking.

Time to Complete this Lesson Module: Approximately 25 minutes
Begin Module 5

logo: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau