3 Parental Tips for the Use of Pacifiers
A pacifier can be a valuable tool in the arsenal of a busy parent who needs to be able to buy time between feeding or soothing sessions. It’s completely natural for babies to suck even when they are not feeding. It is comforting and provides a feeling of security. A pacifier is an acceptable alternative to thumb sucking (which is also normal). Here are a few things to keep in mind about dental health if you do use a pacifier for your baby.
#1: Never Dip the Pacifier in Sweeteners
Some parents are in the habit of dipping the pacifier in honey to soothe their baby even further with a sweet taste. This can be habit forming for the baby, and it can be detrimental to tooth enamel when teeth start to erupt at around 6 months. It’s better not to get the habit started than to have to try and break it.
#2: Wean Your Child Off the Pacifier by Age Three
Even without sweeteners, a pacifier habit may be tough to break. Most kids will lose that craving by age three, but if not, it will be up to you to gradually wean your child off of the pacifier. Continued use can affect the way baby teeth grow in, which can set up for problems in adult teeth. Baby teeth may eventually fall out, but they are important as they are placeholders for permanent teeth.
#3: Make Sure the Pacifier Shield Is Wider than Your Kid’s Mouth
This is more about safety than oral health. A child can choke if the whole pacifier fits in his or her mouth. If your child does use a pacifier for several years, you’ll have to upgrade to large ones in correlation to mouth size.
Maintaining Good Oral Care Early On
The key to a happy, healthy smile in adulthood is taking care of a child’s teeth right from the arrival of that first pearly white. At BRSH+FLSS Pediatric Dentistry, we are always proud and feel a part of something special when a parent brings in a baby with that first new tooth for a checkup. If you are looking for pediatric dentists who are focused on prevention, call 619-741-1500 today to schedule an appointment.