Most children give up the pacifier between the ages of two and four, but it's best if parents limit pacifier use when their child is 6 to 12 months old. Why? Well, pacifiers make children more prone to ear infections and may interfere with speech development, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. At Children’s Dental Center of New Hampshire and Orthodontics in Amherst, NH, Drs. James McAveeney and Andrew Cheifetz can inform you about the do's and do not of your child's health.
Dental Effects of a Pacifier
There are mixed results regarding the effect of using a pacifier on early childhood, but recent research reports say "pacifier use after three years of age is associated with a higher incidence of malocclusion," according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dental misalignment may lead to malnutrition because your child can't eat properly, as well as speech impairment and self-esteem issues.
Continued use of a pacifier moves baby teeth forward and if your child is still using a pacifier when permanent teeth erupt, ages 4 to 6, permanent teeth can also shift forward.
If you are concerned about your child’s teeth because of continued pacifier use, visit Drs. McAveeney and Cheifetz in Amherst. They will be able to evaluate your child's dental health.
Tips for Reducing Pacifier Use
Wean your child from the pacifier a little bit every day. Limit their need for it and end the nightly routine of giving it to them during bedtime. Here are some tips to help out:
- Take it away early in the day
- Make it taste unpleasant but use something safe, of course
- Trade it in for a special treat or toy
Need a consultation?
For more information on pacifiers and how they may impact your child's oral health, call Drs. James McAveeney and Andrew Cheifetz of Children’s Dental Center of New Hampshire and Orthodontics in the Amherst, NH, area at (603) 673-1000 today!