A pacifier can help calm a baby. However, many parents are concerned about their effects on baby teeth. Is it bad for your baby’s developing mouth? Can it cause dental issues along the way? Let’s start with the benefits of using a pacifier.
Is a Pacifier Bad for Baby Teeth?
Pros of Using a Pacifier
- Makes babies feel secure. Infants have a natural tendency to suck. It’s a natural reflex that they begin from when they were still inside the womb. Sucking on their thumbs or pacifiers, hence, make them feel happy and secure.
- Helps babies to relax. Pacifiers can also help infants calm themselves down or control their feelings. It helps them soothe themselves, which is also beneficial for parents.
Cons of Using a Pacifier
- May interfere with breastfeeding. Using a pacifier too early can interfere with breastfeeding. Hold off on introducing pacifiers until you and your baby establish a nursing pattern.
- Increases risk of ear infections. According to a study, the use of pacifiers can increase the risk of developing ear infections.
- May cause tooth decay. Dipping a pacifier in sweets or anything sugary before giving it to your baby can lead to tooth decay.
- Affects teeth development. Overusing a pacifier can affect teeth alignment and the shape of the mouth. Your child may develop bite problems or the teeth may become crooked. These issues may self-correct if the child stops using a pacifier before the age of two. However, continuing its use for longer can make dental effects more noticeable.
Breaking the Habit
Pacifier use is easier to break than thumb-sucking. To help your baby break the pacifier habit, consider looking into their anxiety triggers. Focus on addressing the cause of anxiety so your baby will not have to rely on pacifier alone for comfort.
Avoid scolding or punishing a child if they don’t cooperate. Encourage them instead by using rewards. Most important, continue maintaining good oral hygiene habits. If you’re struggling to get your child to brush their teeth, seek professional help from your dental team.
Overall, pacifier use shouldn’t be bad for baby teeth as long as it does not go on for too long.
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