Posted on October 02, 2020
There is no doubt that pacifiers are useful tools when it comes to helping babies self-soothe and for giving tired parents a much-needed break. The sucking reflex is strong in babies, and it helps them to relax, which is why pacifiers are so effective. But many parents in St. Catharines wonder how prolonged use of a pacifier might affect their child – in particular, how it might affect their child’s teeth.
The fact is that pacifiers can indeed cause dental issues – something known as pacifier teeth. The good news, however, is that it is possible to give your child a pacifier without harming their dental health.
Benefits of Pacifiers Pediatric research shows that when very young infants use pacifiers, there are several benefits, including:
- Pain relief during medical procedures.
- Shorter hospital stays for preemies.
- Lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
- Easier to wean from than thumb sucking.
What are Pacifier Teeth?
A baby’s mouth and teeth begin to form in the womb and continue to take their shape through childhood. Anything that a baby holds in their mouth for an extended period of time (pacifiers, fingers, and thumbs, etc.) can affect the way that their mouth develops.
Pacifier teeth include any dental issues that result from prolonged use of a pacifier, including:
- Crooked teeth.
- Problems with jaw alignment.
- Protruding front teeth.
- Changes to the roof of the mouth.
In addition to potentially causing dental issues, pacifiers can pose other risks as well. For parents who decide to let their children use pacifiers, theyshould follow these safety tips:
- Clean pacifiers regularly with water.
- Avoid pacifiers that have moving parts or gadgets.
- Don’t use a string or ribbon to attach a pacifier to your baby’s clothing.
- Don’t dip pacifiers in honey or other sweet liquids as this could cause cavities.
When it is time for your child to say goodbye to their pacifier?
As we mentioned earlier in this article, it is perfectly fine for very young babies to use pacifiers, but that prolonged use can lead to pacifier teeth. Generally speaking, you should wean your child off of their pacifier by the age of two, however, some pediatricians recommend weaning your child off it by six months in order to help prevent ear infections. Generally, by age two or three, your child has less need to suck and will therefore have less need of their pacifier anyway.
Talk to your child’s pediatrician or dentist for advice on what is best for your child.
As a family dental clinic, the team at Creek View Dental is proud to care for the dental health of even our youngest patients. To book an appointment for your child at our St. Catharines office, contact us today.
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