Our Sherrills Ford Pediatric Dentist Explains How Pacifiers Can Harm Infant Teeth
Pacifiers helps babies stay content and relaxed, but frequent pacifier use may cause dental issues and complications as the teeth develop. In today’s post, our Sherrills Ford pediatric dentist will explain some of the potential risks of pacifier use, and when it’s time to transition your baby to other self-soothing methods.
Benefits of Pacifiers
Pacifiers have been shown to provide pain relief, relaxation, and comfort for infants who use them. Children who use pacifiers have been shown to have a reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome, though the relationship between the variables has yet to be explained.
Even dentists are not 100% opposed to pacifier use. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that pacifiers are preferred over the habit of thumb-sucking, which can also impact developing teeth.
The Risks of Pacifier Use
A baby’s mouth and teeth begin forming in the womb, and continue to grow throughout childhood. Any object held in an infant’s mouth for long periods during this important time can affect tooth positioning and dental development. According to the American Dental Association, the dental effects of frequent pacifier use can include:
- Crooked teeth
- Improper jaw alignment (malocclusions)
- Protruding front teeth, and resulting bite problems
- Changes to the roof of the mouth
Correcting these issues can be very difficult and costly. It is much easier to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
When Should My Baby Stop Using a Pacifier?
It is generally recommended that babies be weaned away from pacifiers by age two in order to avoid developing“pacifier teeth.” By this age, some dental effects may be seen, but the teeth are mostly still forming. It is recommended that you decrease pacifier use gradually, and offer a transitional object for comfort and security instead.
Protect Your Baby’s Teeth with Our Sherrills Ford Pediatric Dentist!
Our experienced Sherrills Ford pediatric dentists are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your baby’s developing teeth. It is recommended that you schedule your baby’s first dentist appointment when they are one year of age, or when the first tooth erupts, whichever comes first. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with our office, please click here!