Dental Tips Blog

Nov
30

When Should My Child Stop Using a Pacifier?

Posted in Braces

Are you wondering when your toddler needs to give up their pacifier? Preferably by age 2 and definitely before 4. Extended use of a pacifier can create long-term problems.

What kind of problems?

A higher, narrower palate, which is now being linked to issues with the airway like snoring and sleep apnea.

Misaligned teeth: Before age 2, the teeth should self-correct. After age 4, the permanent teeth underneath have already been influenced and your child is more likely to need orthodontics as a teenager. 

“How can we make the pacifier go bye-bye?” 

Cold turkey

Your kiddo lost his? Just don’t replace it – especially if he doesn’t seem to miss it that much. Sounds mean, but isn’t, if done with a dose of kindness. 

Trading

Some parents will bargain with their children or have the “Pacifier Fairy” visit to make a trade. One pacifier = one prize (often something cuddly like a blanket or stuffed animal that can still provide comfort to the child in a way that the pacifier once did).  

Praise

Tell your child how proud you are of him for each night that no pacifier is required for bedtime. 

Weening

Reduce the times that pacifier-use is allowed until it is only used at bedtime, then only on occasion to not at all. 

When should the dentist get involved? 

  • See a dentist when your child’s teeth start erupting or sooner, if there are issues that you are concerned about.
  • Get a full screening of your child’s mouth to make sure the teeth are developing properly as well as the palate, jaws, and airway space.
  • Hear ideas for how to best halt your child’s pacifier use.

Your dentist is your best resource for preparing your child for a lifetime of excellent oral health!

Posted on behalf of:
East Cobb Orthodontics
2810 Lassiter Rd
Marietta, GA 30062
(770) 993-7118

Mar
25

Giving Up the Pacifier

Posted in Braces

When should a child give up their pacifier? Many parents find it a huge milestone that they aren’t always eager to reach, especially when a pacifier helps sooth their child or ease them into sleep. The truth is, your child needs to be giving up their pacifier around the time of their first birthday…when teeth are beginning to erupt, or at the very latest around 18 months of age. The last thing you want to have is a preschooler that still relies on a pacifier. Extended sucking on pacifies or fingers can interfere with proper tooth positioning, jaw development, and even their facial profiles as they age. Misaligned teeth, overbites, and recessed jaws will affect them for years, as well as make orthodontic treatment a definite need in the future. Teeth with over-jets are more likely to become fractured during bumps or falls.

There are a variety of approaches for giving up the pacifier. Reducing the times your child gets it is an easy first step…not letting them have it except during naps or bedtime. Some parents find it successful to cut the end of the pacifier off. The child then sees the pacifier has “broken” and finds that it is not comfortable to suck on. Other parents take it away cold-turkey. No matter what the approach is, most likely it will take at least a few days for your child to self-soothe during resting times without it.

Don’t worry…taking the first steps toward breaking a pacifier can be scary, especially for new parents! After a few days, and without going back to it, your child will do just fine.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck, DMD, MS, PC

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