Pacifiers and Dental Health for ToddlersHere’s Why You Should Keep Your Toddler Away from a Pacifier

In the last few years, parents have become way more concerned about the health of their toddlers. This has led to parents scrutinizing age-old practices and studying their effect on children. One such practice that is being seen in a new light is thumb sucking and the use of pacifiers. Most parents do not think twice before giving a baby a pacifier. It is because pacifiers have been used for decades now, and have become an integral part of the parent-baby relationship.

Too Much of Anything Is a Bad Thing

Studies have shown that even unborn babies suck their thumb while in the womb of their mother. Thus, thumb sucking comes naturally to newborn babies. Over the years, many researchers and experts have also corroborated this fact. Thumb sucking is a natural phenomenon and, thus, mostly harmless. Pacifiers, on the other hand, do a fantastic job of keeping babies calm and happy. However, pacifier use must be dissuaded beyond a certain age. Parents should try to keep their baby away from a pacifier beyond the age of two, as rigorous pacifier use can affect your child’s dental growth.

Here’s Why You Should Keep Your Toddler Away from a Pacifier

While it is okay for a newborn baby to use a pacifier, pacifier usage beyond the age of two should be discouraged as it can lead to an altered dental formation, misaligned teeth, overbite, and several other issues. Here are a few reasons why you should keep your toddler away from a pacifier.

Overt Use of Pacifier Leads to Malocclusion of Teeth

Regular pacifier usage can lead to malocclusion of teeth, a condition that leads to misalignment of teeth. Malocclusion either manifests itself as posterior crossbite (misalignment of back molars) or anterior open bite or negative overbite ( a gap between upper and lower teeth when the jaw is open). Parents should do their best to avoid malocclusion of teeth as it can directly affect your child’s smile.

It Can Lead to Tooth Decay

To make their child like the pacifier, many parents first dip it in sweet substances, such as honey or syrup. These sweet substances serve as food for acid-forming bacteria, which cause tooth decay. If you give your child a pacifier, never dip it in sugary substances. Further, clean it only with water. However, the best practice is to discourage pacifier usage beyond two years of age.

What Can Parents Do to Promote Healthy Dental Development in Toddlers?

It is easy to tell a parent to stop giving their child the pacifier after the age of two, but the truth is getting a child to quit thumb sucking, or pacifier usage is a difficult task. Thus, as a parent, you must design a strategy to promote your child’s healthy dental development while also taking into account their reliance on a pacifier. Here are a few things you can do.

  • Try your best to make your child give up the pacifier before they turn two
  • Never dip the pacifier in anything sweet
  • Use only warm water to clean it
  • Allow your child their pacifier only during bedtime

Conclusion

The growth that happens during the initial years stays with the body for a long time. It is thus vital that parents pay extra attention to ensure the healthy development of their children, especially during the initial years. While pacifier use and thumb sucking aren’t inherently wrong, overt reliance on them is not only capable of affecting your child’s smile, but also their dental development. It is, thus, an excellent idea to do your best to get your baby off the pacifier by the time they turn two.

For more information about pacifiers and your toddler’s dental health, contact Paul Mansky Dental today!  We are located in Troy, Michigan and can be reached at (248) 689-5508 and we hope to hear from you soon!