Pacifiers are useful for babies and young children; they can help soothe them, which can help entertain, provide self-comfort, and work as a sleep aid. While they are helpful to tired parents, they come with a dental downside.
Dependence or overreliance on a pacifier can cause a host of dental issues for your child as they age, especially as they approach four years old.
The Risks of Pacifiers
These risks don't mean you have to tear the pacifier out of your baby's mouth at this moment but consider weaning your child off their pacifier as early as possible.
Pacifiers can start to pose the risk of causing dental issues for children around two years old— as they grow, the risk of problems like cavities, gingivitis, and pacifier tooth misalignment increases.
While there is some disagreement about when a child should be off the pacifier, four years old is generally considered the absolute lastest a parent should wait before weaning their child off of it. Pacifiers can cause many dental issues for the child in the future:
- Ear infections
- Pacifier tooth, a condition that causes the child's teeth to grow at an angle outward toward the lip
- Misformation of the jaw
- Dependency on the pacifier for comfort
We recommend keeping up with your child's early dental visits. If any conditions like these progress because of the pacifier, the dentist can catch it before it becomes a more significant issue. The younger we find these problems in children, the better because the chances increase that they will correct themselves naturally. The longer parents wait and the closer the child gets to four years old, the more likely the dental issues caused by the pacifier will require dental assistance to correct.
Expert Grand Rapids Pediatric Dentistry
If your child needs an exam or is suffering from any of these conditions due to pacifier use, contact us today to get the dental assistance your child needs to have excellent oral health throughout life. Contact us today to schedule a pediatric dental exam.