Everybody loves a good pacifier. It’s true. We all have stories about our kids and their binkies. And it’s well-known that pacifiers have tangible benefits. They can calm, soothe, help create shorter hospital stays for preterm infants, and even reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. There can be too much of a good thing, though. Prolonged pacifier use and thumb sucking can cause problems.
There are still mixed opinions about the use of pacifiers and even more opinions about when to wean children off of the pacifier. It is widely recognized, however, that using a pacifier can affect and impair the proper alignment of the teeth. This happens over time, however, and it’s generally accepted that thumb sucking and pacifier use be minimized between the ages of three and four.
These habits that are beneficial in younger years, can also change the shape of the roof of the mouth after repeating them for too long. This, in turn, can affect speech patterns, speech development, and language development in general. Every child develops differently, as we know, and there is no easy way of judging what is right just by age.
Thumb- and pacifier-sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they continue over a very long time. Regardless of your child’s age, we at Haring Pediatric Dental often suggest a ventilated pacifier, which allows air to circulate. This lowers the intensity of the child’s sucking habit and decreases the risk of growth and developmental problems. Feel free to call us today to see how we can help in your individual situation. This year, learn the best way to put your binky to bed.