Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

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Children’s oral health: when to end the use of a pacifier November 27, 2012

Filed under: Dental health — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 7:24 am
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Okay, here’s one that can be tough, but every parent knows at some time, the “binky” or pacifier has to go.  The question is, “when”?  As in when is the best time, from an oral health perspective, to take the little one off the “passy?”

Research has noted that pacifiers used in the first year of life may actually help prevent sudden infant death syndrome, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. They suggest using a pacifier when placing the infant to sleep but not to reinsert once baby has drifted off.

But, long-term use can be hazardous to dental health.  And that’s what we want to avoid.  Sucking too strongly on a pacifier, for instance, can affect how the top and bottom teeth line up (the “bite”) or can affect the shape of the mouth.

As one dentist notes, “Pacifiers are for infants, not for toddlers walking around with them in their mouths.”  And that includes the “orthodontically correct” pacifiers.

So when should we take the pacifier away?  Experts recommend they be dropped by age 2. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests getting a professional evaluation if the pacifier habit continues beyond age 3.

Not an easy task, granted.  But a necessary one to help your child’s oral health develop normally.  Until age 2, the pacifier can be a parent’s best friend.  After the age of 2, however, it can become an enemy of your child’s overall oral health.

If you have any questions on the subject, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Mall of Georgia Dentistry

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