Preventing Pacifier Teeth

When your child is an infant, a pacifier can be a lifesaver. The soothing, sucking motion helps babies feel comforted and puts them at ease. Pacifiers are great for babies, but eventually they can cause damage to your child’s teeth and mouth if used for too long. To prevent pacifier teeth in your child, keep reading for tips from Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry.

What are pacifier teeth?

Pacifier teeth refers to a condition resulting from prolonged pacifier use. Toddlers and children who are considered to have pacifier teeth have one or more issues, including protruding, crooked, shifted, or uneven teeth, as well as problems with the bite and jaw alignment, and changes in the roof of the mouth. Children who suck their thumb for too long also face the same oral health issues.

Children who face teeth alignment and mouth development issues because of prolonged pacifier use or thumb-sucking will require orthodontic intervention in the future. However, you can prevent your child from developing pacifier teeth or stop any developing issues within about six months if pacifier use stops by the age of two.

Tips for stopping pacifier use

If you’re struggling to take the pacifier away from your child, there a few ways to go about it:

  • If your child uses the pacifier all the time, encourage your child to use the pacifier just when needed for soothing, like nap times and bedtime.
  • Cut the tips off. Cutting the ends of the pacifiers off makes it difficult or impossible for your child to get the same satisfaction because the pacifier no longer provides suction.
  • Give them away. Gather all of your child’s pacifiers together, package them up in a box, and explain to your child that they are being given away to babies who need them, or the “pacifier fairy” is taking them to give to babies.
  • Cold turkey. Take the pacifiers away completely and don’t give them back.

It’s important to remember that taking the pacifier away may be stressful for a few days or even weeks, but in the end it will prevent your child from going through extensive dental care and orthodontic treatment. For more questions about pacifier teeth and how to prevent them, contact Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry.

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