There’s actually a term called, “pacifier teeth”, describing the way front teeth develop out of alignment or fail to bite down properly. It’s caused by excess pacifier use, or aggressive thumb sucking.
Should I Give My Baby a Pacifier?
Yes, of course. Babies feel a great deal of comfort and safety in being able to self-sooth on a pacifier to thumb.
The problem occurs when it becomes excessive or too aggressive. It’s better to train a baby on a pacifier simply because when it’s time to wean them off, you take the pacifier away. You cannot, however, take his/her thumb away.
Begin limiting their pacifier use around the age of one. By the age of two, wean them completely off.
What Happens if I Don’t Wean Them Off?
Toddlers who are allowed to continue sucking on a pacifier or thumb will experience improper development of the oral cavity and teeth. Instead of the teeth growing in properly, they tend to grow around the pacifier or thumb, becoming misshapen or out of alignment. A toddler who is allowed to suck aggressively will also experience the roof of their mouth growing improperly. Prolonged pacifier use can even cause the jaw to become out of alignment.
How to Offer a Pacifier Correctly
If you do choose to give your child a pacifier, consider these tips:
- Restrict pacifier use to when the infant needs to fall asleep.
- Don’t dip the pacifier in honey or anything sweet. A pacifier should never used as a treat or reward. This will make it far more difficult to wean them off.
- Always sanitize the pacifier before use. Dirty pacifiers will (guaranteed) lead to bacterial infections in babies.
Breaking the Pacifier Habit
- Dip the pacifier in white vinegar.
- Pierce the top of the pacifier or cut it shorter to reduce sucking satisfaction.
- Never scold a child for using a pacifier, instead praise them when they are not using it.