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

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

If your baby uses a pacifier for too long, it can lead to abnormal tooth development and dental issues in their developing mouths. Here, our children's dentist explains the pros and cons of pacifiers. 

The Pros

For young babies who need some extra soothing, pacifiers can provide comfort and reassurance. In the early stages, pacifiers can also be good for strengthening oral muscles and reflexes.

For example, they may be beneficial to newborns who have a strong urge to suckle. They may also help babies who are struggling to latch for breastfeeding by improving their sucking ability. 

The issue with pacifiers is more about how long a child is allowed to use one. When children use pacifiers for too long it can affect their dental development. 

The Cons

The consistent, long-term use of a pacifier can change the shape of the mouth and the position of the teeth and jaw.

That's because as babies and toddlers develop, their jaws grow around anything held inside the mouth on a regular basis.

Nevertheless, pacifiers can still be beneficial for young babies. If you do choose to give your child a pacifier, you can take some steps to help reduce the risks, such as restricting its use to times when the child needs to be soothed to sleep.

Eventually your toddler must give up the pacifier for the sake of their teeth. To prevent dental issues, a good rule of thumb is to wean your child off the pacifier by the age of two. 

To learn more about oral health for babies and toddlers, contact our Burnaby children's dentist. 

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