Do Pacifiers Make Your Kids’ Teeth Crooked?

Pacifiers were considered harmless to kids' teeth until recent years.  Most parents give their baby a pacifier without a second thought. As we learn more about pacifiers and infant teeth, it is becoming increasingly clear pacifiers hinder tooth development.

Pacifiers can even negatively impact the development of an infant's mouth to boot.  So do not assume it is sensible to provide your little one with a pacifier for comfort.  The bottom line is pacifiers are bad for your child's mouth in numerous regards.

The Problem With Pacifiers

An infant who sucks on a pacifier or even his fingers is more likely to have significant problems during development.  The extensive use of a pacifier sometimes causes a condition referred to as pacifier teeth. As an infant matures, the jaw develops around objects that are within the mouth.  Extensive sucking can even alter the roof of the mouth.

The roof has the potential to narrow and consequently, prevent the teeth from having ample space to drop.  This leads to teeth overlapping and coming in crooked.

It is possible for the bottom and top jaw to eventually achieve misalignment and create issues with chewing. Babies will even have trouble enunciating words. Pacifiers can cause the bottom teeth to tilt inward and the front teeth to slant outward.

Pacifier use can also cause malocclusions like anterior open bite, narrow intermolar width and posterior crossbite.  Anterior open bite refers to front teeth that do not come together. Posterior crossbite refers to the position of the front teeth in an overbite and the improper fit of the molars.  

Pacifiers are not Completely Bad for Kids' Teeth

While pacifiers can cause crooked teeth and additional oral health problems, they also have an important role to play.  Pacifiers calm newborns who have a desire to suckle. Furthermore, pacifiers help infants who have problems with their positioning during breastfeeding as they promote the development of oral muscles.  Pacifier use can also decrease the risk rate for SIDS.

The question many parents wonder is how long can a child use a pacifier?  If children use pacifiers for an extended period of time, they will cause serious issues with dental development.  In general, children should not rely on a pacifier beyond five or six months of age.

Otherwise, the pacifier will interfere with tooth growth and impede proper dental development.  Once your little one reaches six months of age, he or she has control over the tongue and the entirety of the mouth.  By this point, the infant sucks rather than suckles. Furthermore, this is the age when teething commences.

Replace Your Baby's Pacifier to Prevent Crooked Teeth

Substitute teething rings or another type of self-soothing item once your little one reaches six months of age. If pacifier use extends beyond this point in time, the chances of dental problems like crooked teeth will be that much higher.  In the end, pacifiers should be considered a temporary option that should be phased out within the first year of your infant's life.

Please call Roy Dental: Paramita Roy DDS today at (650) 200-1178!

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