Typical of most parenting-related topics, the use of baby pacifiers by infants and toddlers present both pros and cons. There are those parents who are for them and those who absolutely refuse for fear of their child developing “pacifier teeth.”
At Crown Dental, everyone on our staff is a parent and has weighed the pros and cons of pacifier use at one time or another. We’re here to provide some guidance and reassurance about pacifier use, parsing out reality from rumor and, hopefully, leaving you with some peace of mind. Couldn’t all parents use a dose of that?
The first point we’d like to make is that pacifier teeth, which refer to teeth and jaws growing abnormally due to excessive baby pacifier use are, well… rather rare. Your child would have to remain seriously committed to near-constant pacifier sucking in order to develop an issue with his or her teeth.
According to the American Dental Association, “Most children stop sucking their thumbs or other fingers on their own between the ages of 2 and 4 years.” This is often prompted by increased social interactions with peers in school or daycare settings.
If, for any number of reasons, your child is inching closer to kindergarten and still relies on a pacifier, you might consider consulting with your dentist. However, the ADA also cautions against overemphasizing the need to stop using a pacifier as this can backfire (as can all requests made of children, right?)
In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) suggests that pacifiers can be a good thing, especially when it comes to reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in babies aged one to six months old.
Of course, when it comes to your baby, sometimes getting a professional opinion face-to-face is best. We’re all mothers in this office. We’ve been there, which is why we are committed to putting all of our patients at ease when it comes to dental decisions.
Please contact our office and ask Denise to arrange a consultation with Dr. Chen, who will be happy to evaluate your child’s teeth and discuss options for pacifier weaning, if necessary.