Adult pacifiers are often used for anxiety. While they offer a temporary fix, they might not help long-term.

There isn’t much information regarding pacifiers for anxiety in adults. Despite the lack of research, some adults use pacifiers to ease anxiety.

In general, some adults turn to strategies they used as kids to help them release negativity and ease anxiety. You might want warm milk to help you calm down before bed, or use a weighted blanket to ease worry and promote security. Using adult pacifiers might be another option with similar effects.

Those who use pacifiers might have an oral fixation that makes them want to put something in their mouth. Having something in their mouth can help them feel better, allowing them to calm down or fall asleep. Along with sucking on the pacifier, those with an oral fixation might find relief from biting their nails or chewing on a pen cap.

The benefits of sucking on a pacifier to ease anxiety only offer temporary relief. It can help in the moment, but the underlying issue is likely still present.

A pacifier might be called an adult binky, soother, or dummy. The term you hear likely depends on where you live, but either way, it’s often used to ease anxiety. Adults use them for soothing and relaxing, much like babies do.

Not all pacifiers are the same, and some of them can harm your oral health. Choosing an orthodontic pacifier for adults can help protect your teeth from shifting and becoming misaligned.

There are many options for orthodontic pacifiers, and the one you use depends on personal preference and trial and error. The shape that is best for orthodontics is an angled nipple.

There isn’t much research about whether adult pacifiers reduce anxiety. However, physician and psychologist Michelle Xia explains, “Very similar to kids’ pacifiers, the adult pacifier works “as a device” to relieve stress and anxiety.

“They work on the unconscious and give a soothing feeling. They actually are distracters and therefore are great help for anxiety.”

Adult pacifiers can soothe anxiety symptoms, but it only works momentarily. It can meet someone’s need for oral stimulation, making them feel less anxious. When an adult sucks on a pacifier, it can help them focus on other things.

While pacifiers can work this way for adults, professionals still suggest long-term treatment options. Since an adult pacifier is only a temporary fix, finding other solutions can be beneficial. You might consider cognitive behavioral therapy to find long-term options for easing anxiety.

Adult pacifier benefits

While using a pacifier isn’t a long-term solution for anxiety, it does offer some benefits, including:


Infants enjoy pacifiers because suckling offers soothing benefits. Adults may use them the same way, relieving stress or discomfort.

Using a pacifier can also ease anxiety in those with an oral fixation. The idea of an oral fixation came from Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual stages of development.

Freud’s theory involves an oral stage during the first year of life. Babies find pleasure in putting things in their mouths and find gratification from having their oral needs met.

If a baby doesn’t get their oral needs met, this can lead to an “oral fixation” in adulthood. Pacifiers can help adults meet these needs, offering temporary soothing benefits.


Adult pacifiers may help you fall asleep, allowing you to get enough rest to perform basic activities. As you suckle on the pacifier, your anxiety can ease enough to allow you to drift off to sleep.

Helping overcome unhealthy habits

Using a pacifier can help ease other unhealthy habits. If you smoke cigarettes or engage in other unhealthy behaviors to alleviate anxiety, a pacifier can help.

Using a pacifier can offer temporary relief if you get the urge to engage in your harmful habit. Doing it each time can help train your mind and body to eliminate the desire.

While you can’t be diagnosed with a pacifier addiction, you can become dependent on them. With a pacifier dependency, you might experience some potential risks and harmful effects, including:

  • damage to your teeth
  • misalignment
  • jaw shape changes
  • changes in the roof of your mouth
  • infections in your mouth from germs in or on the pacifier
  • speech problems
  • avoiding finding long-term ways to cope with anxiety

If you think you might be dependent on an adult pacifier, you can make some changes to ease the situation. You might consider throwing the pacifier away and stopping using it altogether. However, if you aren’t ready for that, it’s okay because there are other options.

You can also ease your dependency by finding other ways to soothe your anxiety. Turning to the pacifier once in a while may be okay, but you might want to work on cutting back a little.

Another option is to identify your triggers and work to overcome them so that you no longer have the urge to use a pacifier. Identifying the triggers can help you deal with the underlying cause of your anxiety. Then, you may not feel the need to engage in oral stimulation.

You can also try tracking the times you have the urge to use your pacifier. Tracking the times allows you to anticipate when the behavior may occur so that you can try other ways to cope first. To try and ease your pacifier use, you might want to try:

Everyone has different coping techniques when dealing with stress and anxiety. Negative emotions can be hard to overcome, and sometimes using an adult pacifier can seem like the best option.

Using an adult pacifier can be a beneficial temporary solution to anxiety, but it won’t help long-term. Finding ways to address the underlying issue and developing coping strategies that help long-term could be a better option.

Living with anxiety can impact your ability to function. It can also affect your relationships, professional life, and physical health. If you think it’s affecting your life, you might consider speaking with a therapist.

Your healthcare provider should be able to refer you to a therapist near you. You can also find a therapist through the American Psychological Association, where they help you find someone in your area. If you’re unsure what to look for, you can read these tips for finding a good therapist.

Remember that you’re not alone in feeling this way and don’t have to feel anxious forever. You can overcome anxiety and find peace in life once again.