As a parent of 3 kids who used pacifiers extensively to help them fall asleep, stay asleep and just to sooth them, I always wondered if I was affecting their teeth and jaw development that would require future orthodontic treatment. There have always been confusing and conflicting concerns.
A review published in Dental Cadmos in April 2022 evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of pacifier use. The study showed that prolonged use of pacifiers was correlated to a higher prevalence of anterior open bite, increase Overjet, and posterior crossbite. It also revealed that breast-feeding had a protective effect with respect to dental skeletal abnormalities and decreased the need for pacifier use.
My recommendations to the parents:
1. Always disinfect the pacifier to avoid any introduction of bacteria or viruses that can cause infection
2. Use only at night or nap time
3. Never dip the pacifier in honey or anything sweet that can cause long term tooth decay
4. By age 2 reduce the usage and by age 3 to be completely done with them
5. Use an orthodontic soother design to minimize the negative effects on the teeth and jaw
My struggles were real as I am sure yours are.
Please ask me the next time you are in the office how I managed to get my kids to stop using pacifiers. My youngest was the toughest with 3 pacifiers at any one time.
Let’s keep you smiling