How to Prevent “Pacifier Teeth”

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
April 30, 2019

A young child playing with his grandfather.

You might think that your baby’s pacifier is a godsend, especially during those moments when nothing else will calm your child. Unfortunately, though, like anything else in life, pacifiers do come with their own set of drawbacks that are worth thinking about. Those drawbacks include what’s known as “pacifier teeth.”

What are pacifier teeth? We cover what you need to know below to help you make smart decisions when it comes to using a binky to soothe your little one.

Pacifiers Might Affect the Way Your Baby’s Mouth Develops

In the same way that thumb sucking might lead to oral problems, such as misaligned teeth and the improper development of the roof of the mouth, pacifiers could end up doing more harm than good when their use isn’t controlled.

The term “pacifier teeth” refers to the damage that’s done by a pacifier. If your growing baby continues using a binky:

  • The teeth might end up growing in crooked
  • The position of the teeth might change
  • The jaw might not be properly aligned
  • There might be bite problems
  • The upper teeth might protrude forward

In other words, a binky may end up having a big impact on the way your child’s teeth grow in, adversely affecting their alignment and resulting in a need for braces.

Beyond that, however, the actual shape of your child’s mouth might also be affected by the prolonged use of a pacifier.

What seemed, at first, like a harmless tool that you could use to appease your baby might actually end up doing quite a bit of damage as your child grows. Wow!

Alert: Dental Decay Is Another Potential Problem

Do you add some sweetness to your child’s pacifier by putting sugar or juice on it? Bad idea!

Just think about it: you’re giving your baby something that’s covered in sugar, and letting him or her suck on it for a long period of time. As you probably already guessed, this may lead to the development of tooth decay, which you certainly don’t want.

So, when it comes to pacifier teeth, it isn’t just about how the teeth grow in and how they look; the actual health of your baby’s teeth might be jeopardized by excessive pacifier use, particularly if you aren’t using a clean, unsweetened binky.

Preventing Pacifier Teeth: It’s Easier Than You Might Think!

Pacifiers aren’t totally bad, especially for babies up to six months old. You can definitely let your child use a pacifier, while also taking the appropriate steps to avoid pacifier teeth.

The goal should be to get your baby to stop using a binky by the time he or she is two years old. That’s because, by the age of two, you might already begin seeing negative effects on the mouth and teeth. However, if any teeth issues do occur before the age of two, they might end up self-correcting in the months after your toddler stops relying on the pacifier.

The longer your child uses a binky, the worse the effects will be. If your kid is still using a pacifier after his or her second birthday, there is a greater risk that the front teeth will end up tilting or slanting in an unattractive way. And, if he or she is still using a binky at four years and older, the permanent teeth might be affected. Yikes!

Break the Binky Addiction

Pacifiers have their place, but only temporarily. Before long, it’ll be time for your baby to ditch the binky, and it will be your job to help him or her break the habit.

  • Experts recommend using positive reinforcement to encourage your baby to rely less on the pacifier to feel good. Avoid scolding your toddler when he or she uses the pacifier. And when your child doesn’t use it, you can give praise or a small reward.
  • It’s a good idea to start transitioning your baby off the pacifier when he or she is older than six months.
  • To start, you might take the pacifier away during the day, but allow your child to use it while he or she sleeps.  
  • For change to occur, consistency is key. Don’t give in to your kid’s demands for the pacifier. And make sure everyone in your family, as well as babysitters, are aware of the rules for binky use.
  • If your child is stressed or anxious, try implementing other calming techniques and products that can replace the binky.

Help Your Baby’s Teeth Grow in Beautifully!

Sure, pacifiers are great, but there’s a time and place to use a binky before it becomes more damaging than beneficial. In addition to understanding the pros and cons of pacifiers, as well as when it’s best for your baby to stop using one, it’s also a great idea to consult with a dentist who can keep an eye on your child’s mouth as it grows. And, in addition to that, keeping your baby’s teeth and gums clean at home can also help maintain strong and healthy chompers as they grow in. Then, before you know it, your little one will have a full set of teeth and a gorgeous smile!


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