There is nothing quite so heart wrenching as the sound of a crying baby or an upset child. Of course, we use pacifiers, blankies, and other methods to help soothe our infants and young children. In the early stages of infancy and early toddlerhood, pacifiers can be a beneficial aid. However, as a child begins to approach preschool or kindergarten, continued pacifier use can create problems. Pacifiers can negatively affect the tooth placement, jaw alignment, and even the health of individual teeth. So, when is the best time to stop the use of a pacifier?
What Age Should My Child Stop Using a Pacifier?
It is important to know that there is not a single right age. A specific number would be too arbitrary and not appropriate for every child. Because the jaw and teeth will change shape or move positions to accommodate a pacifier or thumb, most pediatric dentists recommend weaning your child off of a pacifier habit somewhere between ages 3 and 5 years old. This age range typically allows for the jaw to develop and teeth to find their proper placement without having a foreign object interfere with the growth and development. If pacifier use is continued during important development, it could result in alignment concerns or tooth placement. Issues that are caused at this stage may require orthodontic treatment later on to prevent long-term problems.
Is It Okay To Use A Pacifier At All?
Pacifier usage, especially with a very young child or an infant whose teeth have not come in, can be beneficial. The sucking sensation can be soothing to a child or baby. One other advantage to a pacifier is that you, as the adult, can gently remove it from your child’s mouth and reach, when you decide the time is right. Thumb-sucking can have the same negative effects, but it is a much more difficult habit to break.
We can help your child’s smile
A pacifier can negatively impact your child’s smile. To schedule a consultation at Lake Country Orthodontics, you can call our Ft. Worth, TX, office today at (817) 236-7846. We serve patients from White Settlement, North Fort Worth, Springtown, Rome, Haslet, Azle, Saginaw, and surrounding Texas communities.