dental care



by Evelina, answer by the Dentist

When should my baby discontinue using the pacifier? A lot of parents find it hard to brake the habit using a pacifier, and they are also not sure about when to brake the habit. Evelina has a submission about pacifiers:

My daughter is almost 2. I am currently trying to discontinue her use of pacifier, she only uses it to fall asleep/during sleep, but the way she holds it in her mouth forced me to make her forget her beloved paci. She puts in her mouth the bottom plastic part together with the rubber part, it gives a lot of pressure on the upper teeth and jaw. Her bite is already uneven, not a lot but it looks a little bit like of the kids who suck their thumbs. Please tell if her teeth and jaw are going to get straight with time now after the paci is almost gone (alraedy two nights without it). I know she has about 4 more years till her pemanent teeth appear but I am very worried about her jaw.

Dear Evelina,
Some pediatricians and speech experts say that as early as 12 months is a good time to throw away the pacifier because this marks the beginning of an important speech development phase. The pacifier may disrupt the babbling and baby talking. On the other hand, a lot of kids use the pacifier until preschool age without any problems with speech. Part of this may be due to the fact that the pacifier is usually used during nighttime, especially in older babies or prechool children.

As you have noticed in you baby, the pacifier can cause your child's upper teeth to tip forward toward the lip. Anyhow this is not serious, as pacifiers usually never cause any permanent damage to baby teeth – it takes only a few pacifier-free months to return to normal.

What dentists are more concerned about, is the eruption of permanent teeth, which usually start coming in around age 6. At that age, pacifier use can cause lasting dental problems. My best advice is to throw away the pacifier before the age of 6, preferrably gradually. Start by limiting daytime use. When this is established, then work with the nighttime routine. Some parents prefere to go "cold turkey" using a language that the child understands. They say that the Fairy is going to take the pacifier away and bring it to another baby that needs a paci, but that Fairy is going to leave a nice gift for the one that gives the paci away...

Good luck with the pacifier!

Best regards, the Dentist

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