Pacifiers - A Pediatric Dentist's Thoughts
A quick google search has quite a bit of conflicting information on pacifier use in children. According to the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) an the AGD (Academy of General Dentistry), pacifier use in children can bring both benefits and drawbacks. Ask your friends with children and you'll soon realize it's a pretty heavily debated subject. Dr Peter, our favorite pediatric dentist in Arlington, covers some information on pacifiers and their use in children.
Positive Side of Pacifier Use in Children:
They are a source of comfort
Can help a child sleep.
Can assist in reducing SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) because pacifiers may promote sleep that is less deep (and more easily awakened children).
Negative Side of Pacifier Use in Children:
Can harm the growth and development of the roof of the mouth, teeth, and maxilla.
Can cause changes in shape of the entire upper jaw (changes from a U shape to a V shape).
Can increase the risk of acute middle ear infections.
When to break the habit?
Try to eliminate the habit by age 2 or earlier. Tooth alignment, maxillary growth issues, and most negative effects of pacifier use will naturally correct after 4-8 months post cessation if they are stopped at this age.
Tips We've Found to Break the Habit:
Cut it shorter and shorter to promote less sucking gratification. We don't love this option but it can work for some parents as long as you're careful with the edges.
An alternative is a very clever design by a pediatric dentist called the Frida Paci-Weaning System. We've recommended this to a lot of our patients with stubborn pacifier habits and received great feedback.
"Forget" to bring it with you when you leave the house or you go on vacation or your children spend the night with their grandparents. Slowly desensitizing them to the pacifier will help them get used to life without it.
Talk to your pediatric dentist about other ways to break the habit (703-962-7814).
VK Pediatric Dentistry
5001 Lee Hwy, Arlington VA 22207