Most parents give their infants a pacifier to soothe and to provide sucking comfort. While this is a common practice, children who routinely suck on a pacifier after the age of 2 years can experience some negative effects, including the following
- Anterior Open Bite: a gap between the upper & lower front teeth when the jaw is closed. The back teeth touch, but the front teeth do not.
- Posterior Crossbite: as a result of excessive sucking, the upper back teeth are tucked inside the lower back teeth.
- Overjet: the upper teeth project slant outward.
- Changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth
- Problems with proper growth of the mouth:
- Pacifier use after the age of 5 can prevent baby teeth from falling out and, therefore, delay the emergency of the permanent teeth
- Increased risk of repeated middle ear infections (otitis media):
- shows that children who don’t use a pacifier have a 33% lower incidence of ear infections.
If your child uses a pacifier, Dr. Dikansky makes the following recommendations:
- Purchase a 1-piece unit, as 2-piece units post a choking hazard if the nipple end breaks off during aggressive sucking.
- Keep the pacifier extremely clean to avoid introducing bacteria into your baby’s mouth.
- Use it as little as possible and eliminate it altogether as soon as possible.