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The Effects of Pacifiers on Childrens' Teeth

Many parents use a pacifier for their newborns, but as their children get older, parents may not be aware of the effects a pacifier has on their child's teeth. Dr. Tiberiu Oancea of Today's Dental in Houston is here to help you navigate this important matter.

Starting a Pacifier

From birth to about six months old, parents are encouraged to use a pacifier as this has been found to actually decrease the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The continual sucking during sleep prevents the child from falling into a sleep from which they might have trouble waking up. Of course, the main reason most parents use a pacifier is that sucking on a pacifier provides comfort and soothes the child.

As a child gets older and continues to use a pacifier, parents need to be aware of the effects long-term pacifier use has on children's teeth.

Effects of Long-Term Pacifier Use

Prolonged pacifier use can effect teeth in the following ways:

  • Proper growth alignment of the jaw and bones that support the teeth can be affected. The front upper teeth can tip toward the lip or just not come in properly at all.
  • The alignment of teeth can be affected. The child's bite may not come together properly, causing an underbite, overbite, or a crossbite.
  • The roof of the mouth may not form properly.
  • Long-term pacifier use has been associated with an increased occurrence of ear infections.
What Age Should a Child Stop Pacifier Use?
As the child gets older, parents may begin to wonder when they should stop the use of a pacifier. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children should stop pacifier use between the ages of two and four years old. Some children will naturally stop using one on their own, while others may have a more difficult time giving up their pacifier.

If your child is having a difficult time giving up their pacifier, please contact Dr. Oancea to set up an appointment so he can evaluate your child's mouth and give you recommendations to help them stop. He can talk to your child about the importance of giving up the pacifier and in many cases, this all a child needs to help them stop.

Don't delay! Contact Dr. Oancea at Today's Dental at (281) 580-0770 today. He is here to help!

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