When celebrities are in the news for defending their toddlers’ use of pacifiers, that shows that there are larger fears at work. The general public is concerned about long-term effects of pacifiers – but many people aren’t sure exactly when to wean their kids off the habit, or what those long-term effects might be.
If you have an infant or toddler, every day is a learning experience, and you’re working so hard to make the absolute best choices for your child. Read on for some guidance on proper pacifier use, and some tips for helping your kids move past their comfort crutches.
Do Pacifiers Cause Crooked Teeth?
It depends. If your child is using a pacifier, drinking from a bottle, or sucking his or her thumb beyond 2-4 years of age, that’s when things can become dangerous for tooth and jaw alignment. Of course, even if they cut out these habits in time, their genetics could lay a blueprint for crooked teeth. It’s key that you take your child to an orthodontist for the first time around the age of 7. This way, you get an idea of whether orthodontic treatment may be necessary, and are able to start it as early as is recommended.
When Pacifiers Have a Negative Impact
- Social development – If your kids start school and are still using a pacifier or sucking a thumb, their peers may ostracize them. Starting preschool or kindergarten is already a stressful time, and helping your kids take control of their habits before they get started will simplify everything.
- Tooth and jaw alignment – The consistent pressure of a thumb, bottle, or pacifier against your child’s teeth can lead to significant issues with their occlusion (bite).
- Potential for tooth damage – While many parents don’t realize this, having something between the teeth poses a threat, especially if your children are very active. If they trip or fall, they’re more likely to chip teeth or cut their faces.
If you ever have questions about your kids’ oral health or dental habits, just get in touch.