Does using a pacifier for too long affect the condition of teeth?
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Does using a pacifier for too long affect the condition of teeth?

Pacifier – a good or bad idea? Undoubtedly, this is a topic that arouses a lot of controversy among parents. Let’s settle once and for all whether using it really affects the later condition of a child’s teeth. 

Why do babies need a pacifier?

The need to suck is a natural reflex that we will see in all newborns and infants. It’s how nature adapted us to life back in the prenatal period. It’s not only about nourishment, but also about closeness and satisfying needs on an emotional level.

That’s why pacifiers were invented – so that the baby can be comfortable all the time when he’s not suckling on breast milk. So it’s quite a convenience that parents are eager to use. However, the pacifier also causes quite a bit of controversy. Why is this the case? Orthodontists stress that it can cause malocclusion. How to deal with it?

Avoid the pacifier early in the baby’s life

Although many mothers find it very difficult with a baby constantly at the breast, orthodontists have no doubts. The wisest thing to do is to avoid giving your baby a pacifier in the first weeks of life. First of all, it can disrupt the lactation process and even lead to the premature end of breastfeeding. Indeed, therefore, it is better not to risk it. It is better to reach for a pacifier after the baby is a month old.

Give a pacifier only when needed

It’s no good giving your baby a pacifier as soon as he or she gently whimpers. As a mom, you will undoubtedly catch the moment when it is already necessary, but otherwise it is better to refrain from it. Very often you are able to soothe your baby’s nerves without using a pacifier, and take advantage of this opportunity. However, if nothing helps, a pacifier can bring relief to both the child and his parents.

Fortunately, the toddler grows quickly, and the sucking reflex gradually disappears. For a few months old baby you can confidently give age-appropriate safe toys, teethers or rattles. This should keep the baby occupied enough so that the pacifier in his mouth is no longer needed so often. Also remember to adjust the pacifier to the baby’s age.

When to say goodbye to the pacifier?

With each passing month, the need to suckle wanes, so take advantage of this to say goodbye to the pacifier. The latest time to do this is around the first year of life. Sucking the pacifier for too long becomes a very harmful habit. Try to divert your child’s attention from the pacifier and explain a lot to him, and it will definitely work. Also remember not to give up on this issue too quickly. You will need a lot of patience, but this is completely normal.

Consequences of using a pacifier – they can be avoided

As orthodontists point out, pacifier use is indeed associated with malocclusion, but you can avoid it by following the above advice. Another consequence is the formation of tooth decay, but this happens when parents do not take care of pacifier hygiene. This is also worth being sensitive to.

main photo: McCutcheon

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