Pediatric dentists are frequently asked if giving babies or toddlers a pacifier can cause future dental problems. The answers may vary but the consensus of opinion seems to be that pacifiers as well as thumbsucking are fine, as long as it doesn’t go on too long. Most pediatric dentists advise weaning by age 2.

Most habits are hard to break. Sucking on a pacifier gives babies a feeling of security and seems to help them fall asleep, but we don’t want to allow the habit to continue so long that they can’t function without it. The earlier parents start limiting the use of a pacifier, the better. Some babies do fine giving up their pacifier all at once but others may need more time to say “bye bye.”

If you feel you need to proceed slowly try offering the pacifier only at nap and bedtimes so your baby can gradually get used to going without it for most of the day.

There are books on the subject. Reading to your toddler can be a special time for the two of you. If you’re having trouble getting him to give up his pacifier find a story that might inspire him. Ask your pediatric dentist for recommendations.

Overuse of a pacifier can interfere with the proper alignment of the teeth and upper jaw and the shape and formation of the mouth. Get more tips about breaking the habit from your dentist or hygienist.

Request an appointment online or call Kaelin Pediatric Dentistry @ 303-805-8266 in Parker.