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This is our last blog in the series of thumb sucking and pacifiers. We will pick up where we left off and discuss the cons associated with the use of pacifiers. We looked at the pros in the last blog…it may be best to reread it. Here we go:
1) A baby may develop a dependency on the pacifier to maintain sleep throughout the night. If it comes out of the mouth at night, they may wake you up (crying) to put it back into their mouth.
2) Pacifier usage and misaligned teeth.
Using a pacifier for the first few years of life (until age three) doesn’t really cause long-term problems with the teeth. However, prolonged use can cause the permanent teeth to be misaligned or to not erupt into the mouth properly. The adult teeth may end up sticking out (bucked teeth), in addition to not meeting properly when biting.
It is best to put a stop to your child’s pacifier habit around the age of two to three. Otherwise, the issues mentioned above may occur.
Some general information:
The primary (baby) teeth are usually fully erupted by two and a half to three years of age. The permanent (adult) teeth do not usually erupt until the child turns six.
Pacifier sucking may cause dental problems relating to the primary dentition as well, in addition to the permanent. It can lead to an anterior open bite (the top teeth do not meet the lower teeth). However, anterior open bites tend to correct themselves before five years of age, which is just before the adult teeth erupt into the mouth.
Note: There doesn’t appear to be evidence that long-term use of pacifiers affects speech.
3) The best time to introduce the pacifier.
Babies who use a pacifier show a greater risk of middle ear infections (otitis media).
Fact: The rate/risk of middle ear infections is the lowest from birth to six months old, so it is best for the child to use a pacifier in this time period.
If the infant starts on the pacifier early, this may affect their ability to breast feed…They may get used to the pacifier nipple and not accept the mother’s ‘breast’ nipple. The infant may feel a difference in the sensation between the two nipples. For this reason, it is best for breast feeding mothers to wait until their breast feeding is well established i.e. several weeks, before introducing a pacifier. Note: The risk of SIDS is the highest from birth to six months…pacifier usage may help to prevent this.
Just a short note about adult pacifiers…
Believe it or not, yes they do exist. They are made larger than baby pacifiers. They may help to reduce or eliminate snoring and help with anxiety or sleep.
To sum up
There are pros and cons to most every situation. With regards to pacifier usage, it’s an individual decision that must be made by the parent involved. I hope that the above information helps…until the next time.
Dr. Robert Axelrad, Dentist in Brampton, ON
For any dental questions or concerns, please give us a call today @ 905.791.3867…you’ll be glad you did!
Based in Brampton, Ontario, Brampton Dentist Dr. Robert Axelrad has been practicing gentle and pain-free dentistry for over two decades. During this time, he has helped to improve the dental health of countless satisfied patients in Peel Region, Brampton and beyond!