Infants are born with a natural sucking reflex, and it is common for this reflex to evolve into a comforting behavior. Pacifiers can soothe a crying baby. However, parents often worry that a pacifier is dangerous for a baby’s teeth. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents that pacifiers are generally safe for babies under two years of age.
After age three, pacifiers can trigger or exacerbate an overbite, open bite, or crossbite. These conditions can affect chewing, speech, and appearance. If that’s the case, orthodontics may be needed.
Pacifier use in younger babies can have a plus side, as they may decrease the chance of cavities by keeping the baby from using the bottle or breast for non-nutritive sucking. Using a bottle while sleeping can cause “baby bottle cavities”.
The baby supply aisles in Carlsbad stores can be overwhelming for parents choosing a pacifier.
There are numerous styles and shapes. Some are no-nonsense and others are more elaborate and even look like a toy. Your baby can sport a bushy mustache or duck lips.
Pacifiers are generally created with either latex or silicone.
The two main categories of pacifiers are orthodontic and traditional. Orthodontic pacifiers are specifically designed to prevent the misalignment of teeth.
What is the advantage of an orthodontic shaped pacifier?
From a dental point of view, the best-shaped pacifier is flat and exerts minimal pressure on the baby’s mouth. Orthodontic pacifiers have a rounded top and a flat bottom. They are intended to prevent tooth troubles later in a baby’s life. They do this by supporting the shape of a baby’s developing palate and jaw. Studies have shown that orthodontic pacifiers cause less open bite or overbite issues than traditional round pacifiers.
The characteristics of an orthodontic pacifier
An extra flat shaft cuts down on pressure on the teeth and jaw. An integrated dental step reduces the distance between the upper and lower front teeth. An orthodontic pacifier produces extra space for the natural movement of the tongue. The specific design of an orthodontic pacifier may protect against dental issues later in a baby’s life.
Keep in mind that an orthodontic pacifier isn’t guaranteed to avert dental problems. Seek the ongoing guidance of a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist is an essential member of your child’s healthcare team.
When your youngster needs to be comforted and feeding or rocking doesn’t seem to do the trick, a pacifier can be a lifesaver. Just remember to pick one that is best for your baby’s developing teeth. And wean your baby from the pacifier around the age of two.
A pediatric dentist is an essential member of your child’s healthcare team
Stephen and Kimberly Dankworth of La Costa Dental Excellence counsel parents on pediatric dental issues from birth through adolescence. Make sure you bring your baby in for their first exam around one year and schedule visits at least twice a year.
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