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The Guide To Pacifiers And Dental Health

Posted on 4/1/2024 by Weo Admin
Kids dental examWhen you have babies, one of the most important aspects of your infant's life is their ability to self-soothe. Self-soothing is an important life skill because you won't always be there to soothe them when they are upset. While babies can suck on pacifiers to self-soothe, if they continue to suck on a pacifier into childhood, they could cause damage to their teeth.

Why Pacifiers?

Not too long ago, parents were encouraged to have their children use pacifiers to self-soothe because people believed that pacifiers were better for children's oral health than their own thumbs, fists, toys, or blankets. However, when children continue to use pacifiers past the second year, they can develop a pacifier mouth.

What Kinds of Problems Can Pacifiers Cause?

One problem pacifiers can cause with children is called an open bite. In an open bite, teeth are spaced very far apart, so that internal mouth structures are visible. Usually, an open bite occurs with a child's front teeth. Pacifiers can also make children's buck teeth, or enlarged front teeth, more prominent.

If a child uses pacifiers continually, they may develop a crossbite. When a crossbite occurs, your child's top teeth and lower teeth do not meet when the mouth is closed. Sometimes, a child's front teeth can fit inside their lower teeth when they close their mouths.

Children who suck on pacifiers long enough can even cause changes to the roof of their mouths. Their top jaw may not grow properly as well.

What Should I Do?

If you are worried about your child's pacifier habit, there are some things you can try. Some parents advocate removing the pacifier cold turkey and dealing with the repercussions. Other parents advocate for temporarily replacing the pacifier with a toy or other source of comfort. You can also try giving the child a pacifier for shorter and shorter amounts of time using a timer. Remember that time and patience are key for pacifier weaning.

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