Pros and Cons of Pacifier Use

Using a pacifier is common among babies and toddlers, but is it good for them? Knowing the pros and cons of pacifier use can help you determine if it's time to get your child out of this habit and how to do so.

Advantages of Pacifier Use

Babies and toddlers use pacifiers as a way to soothe themselves and stay calm. The sucking motion that pacifiers encourage helps has a relaxing effect on babies and toddlers, which is why many parents let their children use them. Pacifiers can help babies and toddlers soothe themselves to sleep at bedtime or for naps during the day. They can also help calm them down when they're crying.

Disadvantages of Pacifier Use

Despite the advantages, pacifier use also has some disadvantages that parents need to consider. Letting children use pacifiers too long can affect the growth of their teeth and jaw. When they continue to use pacifiers, their top and bottom teeth in the front of their mouth can end up tilting and slanting. This happens when pacifiers keep pushing against these teeth. This can have a negative impact on their bite, making it more difficult for them to eat and speak clearly. And could result in the toddler needing orthodontic care when they get older.

When to Stop

Toddlers, ideally, shouldn't use pacifiers anymore when they get their front teeth. This helps prevent these teeth from shifting out of position due to pacifier use. Keep in mind that thumb sucking can also cause the same effects on developing teeth. Toddlers also shouldn't be sucking their thumb once they get their front teeth.

How to Break the Habit

Pacifier use can be a hard habit to break, especially for children who are used to using them and have been using them for a long time. One of the most effective ways to stop toddlers from using pacifiers is by praising them when they don't use one. Giving children rewards for doing so also provides them with an added incentive for giving up their pacifiers. They'll also need comfort and reassurance if they normally use pacifiers when they're feeling upset or nervous. There are companies that make sets of pacifiers that slowly transition the size and shape to help eliminate use.

To schedule an appointment, and chat more with a dental provider about pacifier use please call Great Lakes Dental.