Some children become very attached to their pacifier. However, did you know that prolonged pacifier usage can potentially result in oral health issues down the road? Here’s what you need to know about how pacifiers can affect your child’s smile and when you should wean them off of them.
What Age Should My Child Stop Using a Pacifier?
Every child and case is different, so it’s important to discuss pacifier usage with your child’s dentist and pediatrician. However, the general rule of thumb is that kids should stop using a pacifier between the ages of two and three. Prolonged pacifier use can cause crooked teeth. The front teeth are especially prone to flair. It can also affect bite alignment and change the roof of the mouth.
Tips for Breaking Your Child’s Pacifier Habit
Monitor your child’s interest in the pacifier to gauge when they’re wanting it most. Are they sucking their pacifier for comfort, for relief from teething, or just because? Understanding their habits will help you determine a plan. One of the best ways to get your child to take a pass on their beloved pacifier is to replace it with something else. Offer an alternate form of comfort if possible. Provide them with stimulation, such as a toy or a plush so that they are distracted from wanting their pacifier. If they are suffering from teething pain then address that.
Every child is different, and each experience varies. Weaning your child completely off their pacifier will take some time. Start with taking it away for short periods of time. Then, you can move on to only giving it to them when they go down for a nap or certain time frames during the day. Be patient with this process. It isn’t something that will happen instantaneously.
Schedule Your Child’s Consultation!
It’s good to get started early with good oral health habits for your child, including regular visits to the dentist. Is it time to lose the pacifier? Please contact us for a consultation. At Shaenfield Pediatric Dentistry, our team will work closely with you and your child’s pediatrician to map out a plan to help you wean your child off their pacifier.