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Sucking is a normal part of babies’ development. It is a natural reflex that they develop even before they are born. In fact, sucking provides them the comfort even after a child stops drinking milk from breast or bottle. Many children find pleasure by sucking their fingers or pacifier. On one hand, parent wonder if this habit can lead to problems on their child’s mouth or teeth.

Are Pacifiers Bad for Your Child’s Dental Health?

During a child’s first years, your child’s sucking habits probably won’t harm his/her mouth. However, frequent and long-term sucking can lead to problems, especially true if it continues after the milk teeth begins to fall out.

Some of the problems include:

  • Top front teeth slanting out
  • Bottom front teeth tilting in
  • Misalignment of upper and lower jaws
  • Roof of the mouth may become narrow side to side

Do’s and Don’ts of Using Pacifier

Below are some tips on how to use pacifier (1).

  • Do purchase products that are made in one piece. It should not be composed of parts that may break off and might be swallowed.
  • Do not try to calm a crying baby by dipping the pacifier in sugar water or any sweets. This will only increase the risk of developing tooth decay.
  • Do not tie a pacifier on a necklace or string around the neck of your child. He could accidentally be strangled.
  • Do encourage older children to give up using pacifier.
  • Don’t use pacifier when the infant is falling asleep. He might be too dependent on the pacifier and may not learn how to sleep on their own.
  • Do choose a pacifier with ventilation holes as it allow air passage. This feature is important in cases where the pacifier accidentally becomes lodged in your baby’s throat.
  • Do replace pacifier every two to three months even if you cannot see any wear and tear.
  • Don’t use pacifier when nipple changes color or become cracked, sticky or torn
  • Do clean the pacifier before putting it in your child’s mouth. It can transmit germs that may risk your child of illness or cavities.

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits can become a problem if they continue for a very long period of time. Most kids discontinue use on their own, but if they continue past the age of three, your pediatric dentist may recommend a mouth appliance.

Also, your children should learn to do proper brushing and flossing of their teeth. In addition, it is important to visit a children’s dentist to have their teeth and gums checked.  Dental check-up every six month is advised to prevent carries and other dental problems.

Mint Kids Dentistry’s top priority is bringing children and adolescents on the right path to dental health and proper oral hygiene. Dr. Soo Jun believes that early education will prepare kids to a lifetime of optimal dental health. Hence, she educates the importance of routine dental checkups and proper oral care.

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