A Pacifier Can Affect Your Child’s Teeth

Pediatric Dentistry for Avon, Connecticut

Sucking On A Pacifier Is Soothing to Many Babies

Sucking is a natural reflex that babies start even before they are born and is a normal part of a child’s development. Sucking on a pacifier is soothing to many babies and young children and is a strategy that many parents use to calm a crying baby.

During the first year, sucking on a pacifier will probably not have a negative effect on your child’s teeth. However, sucking on a pacifier after baby teeth fall out can cause problems. Long-term pacifier use can cause the top front teeth to slant out and the bottom front teeth to slant in. It can contribute to misalignment of the upper and lower jaws and can cause the roof of the mouth to be narrower from side to side.

If your baby uses a pacifier, try to limit it to times when he or she is falling asleep. Make sure your child does not hold the shield inside the lips. That can lead to severe lacerations.

Look for a pacifier with a symmetrical nipple so it can stay in the correct sucking position. Give your baby a pacifier with ventilation holes in the shield. This will help your child breathe if he or she accidentally swallows the pacifier.

Do not put a cord around your baby’s neck to hold a pacifier. This can strangle your child.

There are several strategies you can try to get your child to give up using a pacifier:

  • You can take it away early or say that you lost it or give it to someone else.
  • Some parents find that it is easier to get a child to give up a pacifier cold turkey than gradually.
  • You can put something with an unpleasant taste on the pacifier so your child will not want to use it.
  • You can read a book about giving up a pacifier to your child.
  • Some children naturally lose interest in a pacifier on their own.

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David Epstein
CT Pediatric Dentist
David Epstein
A.B., D.D.S., M.S.D.

23 Jan 2022 12:53 AM