If you’re a parent, then you know that pacifiers can be a life-saver (literally). They calm babies down, help them fall asleep, and provide comfort in moments of distress. But as beneficial as they may be, new research is indicating that pacifiers might not be so great for a baby’s teeth.
Let’s explore the bad news about pacifiers and how they might be ruining your baby’s teeth. We’ll also talk about what you can do to protect your child’s teeth, even if they do use a pacifier.
Do Pacifiers Cause Dental Problems?
A prolonged and frequent sucking habit of pacifiers or thumbs may cause crooked teeth or bite problems later on. The longer this habit would continue, the more likely your child will need dental treatment in the future. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends removing the pacifier entirely after the age of three and ween off of these behaviors beginning at 6 months.
if a longer-term habit develops and goes on for too long, it can lead to some serious concerns for dental health, among other issues.
Some of the potential risks that are associated with the overuse of pacifiers may include:
- Open bite
- Changes to the roof of the mouth
How to Use Pacifiers Properly to Avoid Tooth Damage
It’s important to know that the intensity of the sucking can actually heavily influence whether dental problems may occur in the future. If babies are less intense or passive when sucking on their thumb or the pacifier, they are actually less likely to develop problems with their baby teeth compared to infants who intensely suck on their thumbs or pacifiers.
As a parent, it is crucial to take note of this and watch how your child interacts with their pacifier and monitor the frequency and intensity of pacifier usage.
It’s also essential to avoid pacifiers that aren’t one-piece or have removal parts or liquid interiors.
How to Prevent Pacifier Teeth
The best way to prevent pacifier teeth, or the negative effects of the use of a pacifier, is earlier weaning off of the pacifier or avoiding it entirely. For babies, alternatives for a pacifier can be white noise, bouncing, and natural teething toys that they can chew on.
For toddlers, a special blanket, toy, or stuffed animal can be used to comfort them if they feel the need to suck or be distracted during distress. Also, try a nightlight to help your child sleep and offer a sippy cup or a cup with a straw during the day for drinking that may satisfy the need for sucking motions to satisfy any oral fixations.
Dental Services in Chula Vista
If your child suffers from pacifier teeth damage, it is possible to fix pacifier teeth. Our team of experts is here to help provide relief for you and your child! Book your appointment by calling us today at (619) 656-1788 or booking an appointment online with Nick Addario in Chula Vista.