Pacifiers are one of a baby’s very first best friends. However, as an article on The Speechies.com notes, you can never have too much of a “good thing”:
“How long is too long to use a pacifier? And should you be worried if your child sucks their thumb? Sucking is one of the earliest natural reflexes and is normal for infants. Babies frequently place their fingers and toys in their mouths for oral exploration.
Typically, children resort to this infantile reflex of sucking for soothing. Many children use a pacifier or place fingers in their mouths for increased sense of security. Unfamiliar situations such as meeting new people, being separated from parents, or experiencing a new environment may prompt a child’s need for self-assurance.”
Parents in Marietta, GA, can relate with the above thoughts. Around 23% of the city’s 58,000-strong population have children under 18 years old and there are a number of toddler playgroups in the area. When your child needs to stop activities that will affect his oral functions, a reputable pediatric dentist in Marietta such as Dr. Brent Herrin of Herrin Pediatric Dentistry stands ready to help.
Convincing your kid to permanently lay off the pacifier– or even thumb sucking- requires an analysis of their teeth in their present state and what can happen with prolonged use. For instance, sucking on after losing all the milk teeth causes top front teeth to slant forward and front teeth in the bottom row to tilt inside. You can notice right away that the misaligned teeth affect the child’s speech, the article notes, such as sounds of P becoming more like F.
The American Dental Association states that pacifier use should be stopped when the child hits three years old because this will affect their bite. A normal bite occurs when the teeth are closely aligned and there are no gaps as noted in the above picture.
A kids dentist in Marietta like Doc Herrin can work around the deficiency that pacifiers/thumb sucking brings. They include regular cleaning sessions at the practice and proper brushing technique. As pacifier use triggers malocclusions, the dental practitioner may refer your child to an orthodontist for corrective treatment.
(Source: Long-term Pacifier Use and Your Baby’s Teeth, The Speechies, January 29, 2013)