Brushing Up

We’ve all been there. Your baby starts to cry and the only thing that seems to soothe them is a pacifier. But many parents have concerns that the use of a pacifier can have a negative impact on their child’s oral development. Are those concerns founded? Unfortunately, yes.

The regular use of a pacifier can cause growing mouths to develop improperly in some ways. That can lead to problems with tooth development and other issues. The long-term use of a pacifier can impact the shape of the mouth and the alignment of the teeth, as growing jaws will form around anything held in the mouth on a repeat basis. Evidence shows that overuse of pacifiers can have much the same effects on the mouth as long-term thumb-sucking.

It’s not necessary to avoid pacifier use altogether, however. Pacifiers are still emotionally beneficial to babies, and it’s possible to avoid the risk of longterm damage. The trick is to wean the child from pacifier use before his/her second birthday, after which point the risk of permanent long-term damage increases significantly. Offer (tooth friendly!) rewards for going pacifierfree, and provide snuggles  and other forms of  reassurance when  the pacifier is reached  for in high-anxiety  situations.

Dr. Sanjay Agrawal and his team strive to provide compassionate, comprehensive and comfortable dental care to all of their patients, especially the kids.


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