Pacifiers have been longed used by parents for soothing babies. Most babies naturally have a strong sucking reflex, and often suck their thumbs even before being born. The natural ability to suck not only helps with nutrition in babies but offers a soothing effect as well. On the other hand, pacifier teeth damage in children is a well-known fact. It is a misalignment of the teeth. For example, the child may develop an overbite, open bite, or speech problems.

Therefore, the question arises if parents should use them at all? The answer is not simple. Pacifiers have their pros and cons. There is also a way to safely use them to prevent pacifier teeth damage. Let’s start from the pros of using them:

  • They can soothe babies
  • They offer a temporary distraction
  • It is a great way to ease discomfort for babies due to air pressure changes during flights
  • A pacifier can help a baby fall asleep
  • Easier to wean off as compared to thumb sucking in babies
  • They have been known to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

On the other hand, there are a few disadvantages to using them:

  • Your child may become reliant on the pacifier. If your baby sleeps with a pacifier, you may experience screaming bouts in the middle of the night if the pacifier falls out of their mouth
  • The use of a pacifier may increase the risk of developing middle ear infections. However, the occurrence of middle ear infections is lowest between the ages of birth and six months, when the risk of SIDS is highest and your baby is most likely to want to use a pacifier
  • The usage of a pacifier for an extended period may cause pacifier teeth damage. Meanwhile, the normal use in the first few years of life does not usually result in long-term tooth issues
  • The use of pacifiers can disrupt breastfeeding. If you have chosen to use one for your baby, then wait until the baby is 3 to 4 weeks old and you have created a nursing routine. Meanwhile, some studies review the unrestricted use of pacifiers in healthy, full-term babies, and found no effect on the continuation of breastfeeding

Tips on How to Safely Use Pacifiers

To prevent pacifier teeth damage, here are a few tips on using them safely:

  • It is always recommended to try soothing your baby with a method other than a pacifier. For example, rocking or changing position. This can reduce the baby’s dependence on the pacifier and reduce the risk of pacifier teeth damage
  • Keep them clean. Until your child is six months old, boil the pacifiers or run them through a dishwasher. Once your child’s immunity has developed after crossing six months, simply use soap and water. Do not clean the pacifier with your mouth; this will only spread more germs. Change the pacifier when you notice signs of it becoming old
  • Do not use a two-piece pacifier or attack a string or strap to it. This may create the possibility of the string getting caught around the baby’s neck. Additionally, use a pacifier of appropriate size as per the baby’s age
  • Do not apply sugary substances to the pacifier
  • Do not force the pacifier on the child if they do not like it

Dental Services in Chula Vista

If your child suffers from pacifier teeth damage, it is possible to fix pacifier teeth. Book your appointment by calling or visiting Nick Addario in Chula Vista.