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Can using a pacifier affect my baby's oral health?

Can using a pacifier affect my baby's oral health?

Abnormal tooth development and dental issues in your baby's developing mouth can result from extended use of pacifiers or soothers, however there are some benefits to their use. Here's more on the pros and cons of pacifiers. 

The Pros

For young babies who need some extra comforting, pacifiers, or soothers, can provide reassurance and comfort. In very young children pacifiers can also be good for strengthening oral muscles and reflexes.

For newborns with a strong urge to suckle, pacifiers can be beneficial. They may even helpful for babies who are struggling to latch while breastfeeding, by improving their ability to suckle. 

That said, when a child is allowed to use a pacifier for too long dental health issues can arise, and the child's oral development may be affected. 

The Cons

As babies and toddlers develop, their jaws grow around anything held inside the mouth on a regular basis. Which is why long-term consistent, pacifier use can change the shape of your child's mouth as well as the positioning of the jaw and teeth, possibly leading to dental issues later in childhood.

If your baby finds comfort in using a pacifier there are some steps you can take to help reduce the risks, such as restricting pacifier use to times when your child needs to be soothed in order to relax and fall asleep.

For the sake of their developing teeth, it's important for your toddler to give up the pacifier. To help prevent dental issues, a good rule of thumb is to gently wean your child off the pacifier by the age of two. 

If you'd like to learn more about oral health for babies and toddlers, contact our Delta children's dentist. 

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