It’s completely normal to give your baby a pacifier to soothe and satisfy them. In fact, a majority of babies use them! But did you know that prolonged usage of a pacifier can actually lead to development problems? If your little one loves their pacifier, it can feel like a real chore to get them to let go of the thing, but there are lots of good reasons why you shouldn’t let the habit go on forever.
The Right Time to Say Goodbye
Some babies wean themselves off of their pacifier all by themselves. If that’s your child, that’s great news for you since you don’t have to do any pushing to get them out of the habit. Unfortunately, not every baby is like that. As a general recommendation, you should try to wean your baby off of a pacifier between the ages of six and 12 months old. At this young age, it is generally easier to break the habit than waiting until the child is older. When kids are two to four years old, more serious side effects can present themselves. Plus, we all know that toddlers aren’t the most cooperative of people!
Reasons to Take Away the Pacifier
What’s the big deal with pacifier usage? For starters, sucking on a pacifier can affect dental and speech development. And it’s not just pacifiers, prolonged thumb sucking can cause similar issues for the same reasons. The constant presence of the pacifier can cause a child’s front teeth to protrude out or to become misaligned. You may think that if they’re baby teeth it’s not a big deal since they are just going to fall out one day anyway. But baby teeth serve as guiding placeholders for where permanent teeth should come in, so it’s all connected! On top of that, the position of teeth has an effect on speech development since crooked teeth or deformed palates can make some words more difficult to say.
It may seem unusual but pacifiers can also lead to ear infections. This is because the act of sucking can lead to fluid build-up in the ear. Besides causing your child discomfort, the buildup can also lead to an infection.
Answers to Your Questions at Shaenfield Pediatric Dentistry
Have more questions? Check out our FAQ page. Shaenfield Pediatric Dentistry is here to help you with the many phases your youngsters will pass through as their smiles grow! Preventive dentistry provided by the team at our San Antonio dental office will help your child stay on the right track to avoid future dental issues. Call our office or click the contact link for an appointment!