Save Your Child’s Teeth and Kick the Pacifier Habit

Broken child's teethWhile sucking on a pacifier can help calm fussy infants, it then becomes less helpful as they grow old. Studies suggest the long-term use of pacifiers can affect the healthy development of teeth. A dental malformation is likely to occur when kids continue using it in their preschool years. Experts note that children should stop sucking on pacifiers by age two.

One common repercussion is having an open space in the front teeth or an overbite that causes protrusion of upper teeth. Apart from shifting and moving teeth, long-term pacifier use is also linked to acute mild ear infections. This is because continued sucking causes abnormal opening of the auditory tube, allowing throat secretions to seep into the middle ear.

Other Consequences

Louisville kids’ dentist note that it is best to discourage the habit early on, even if your child doesn’t have an ear infection. This is because it can be difficult to kick the pacifier habit. Some dental experts also believe it could affect speech development, with the child having less time to babble or talk. Using pacifiers past the toddler years may also call the need for braces, as they get older.

Stop the Habit

Sure, weaning your child off a pacifier is not always easy. Fortunately, you can try some strategies. Dip the pacifier in white vinegar to make it taste bitter or sour. Cutting it shorter or piercing the pacifier’s nipple with an ice pick can also help in lowering sucking satisfaction.

Other recommendations include:

  • Limit daytime use or restrict use to certain times like bedtime.
  • Give it away or trade for something that they might like.
  • Lose it and don’t try to find it, as children will realize eventually that they don’t need it
  • Go cold turkey if you think this approach (or saying no) could work for your child.

Apart from kicking the pacifier use, don’t forget to take your child to the dentist no later than their first birthday. This is to prevent oral health problems like tooth decay, learn ways to clean your child’s teeth and identify their fluoride needs.

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Posted on by Cata-Blog in Health

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