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 detrimental 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 aggravate an overbite, open bite, or crossbite. These issues can affect chewing, speech, and appearance. If that’s the case, orthodontics may be required.
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 Tampa 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 oftentimes 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 reduces pressure on the teeth and jaw. An integrated dental step reduces the distance between the upper and lower front teeth. An orthodontic pacifier creates extra space for the natural movement of the tongue. The specific design of an orthodontic pacifier may safeguard against dental problems later in a baby’s life.
Keep in mind that an orthodontic pacifier isn’t guaranteed to eliminate dental problems. Seek the ongoing guidance of a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist is an essential member of your infant’s healthcare team.
When your son or daughter needs to be comforted and feeding or rocking doesn’t seem to do the trick, a pacifier can be a lifesaver. Just remember to choose 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
Richard Kernagis of Kernagis Dental Excellence directs 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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