Most babies love their pacifier and so do parents for their soothing capabilities. But once your child reaches a certain age you may want to reconsider the use of a pacifier in order to avoid dental problems down the road. At Brar Family Dentistry, we believe maintaining your child’s dental health from an early age will lead to health benefits that will last throughout adulthood.
Effects of a Pacifier
While the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) explains that pacifiers can have positive effects on children between one and six months old, it’s best to begin breaking the habit sooner rather than later. Using pacifiers for longer than necessary can influence the shape of the mouth and alignment of the teeth because babies are still growing. As they mature physically, their jaw will begin to grow around anything that is inside their mouth on a repeated basis. Similar to long-term thumb sucking, you may notice the upper teeth begin to tip outward or not even come in properly. If you’re concerned about your child’s pacifier use, it would be best to consult with a pediatric dentist as they can help you come up with a plan to help your child quit.
Breaking the Habit
In addition to consulting with your family pediatric dentist, you’ll want to prepare for when it’s time to take away your child’s pacifier. Knowing what motivates your child is a good start. The best way to encourage your child to stop using their pacifier is through positive reinforcement. You could do this by praising your child for good behavior or even offering a prize for each day and night they don’t use it. But remember, consistency is key when it comes to weaning. If your child is often in the care of someone else, be sure to let them know your goal so that no one gets confused.
Time it Right
There are many sources out there with varying information on when your child should stop using a pacifier. Some experts believe your child should stop after six months of age when the risk of SIDs drops and ear infections become more likely. However, you could just cut back the use of the pacifier to nap and bedtime only. At the end of the day, the safest time to stop is before your child’s teeth begin to develop. Before the age of two, children’s teeth usually can self-correct within six months of breaking a habit. After the age of two, their teeth become more impressionable and a pacifier can cause problems.
Contact Your Trusted Nashua & Merrimack Dentistry
While pacifiers can offer comfort and reassurance for babies, it’s best not to let the habit continue for longer than it should. Knowing when it’s time to stop is key and Brar Family Dentistry is here to help. To ensure your child has a future of strong dental health, be sure he or she receives the best early dental care possible. Book an appointment today by contacting our family dentistry at (603) 889-0601 or (603) 424-2121. We happily provide premier family dentistry treatment to families in and around the Nashua or Merrimack, NH area.