Proper Pacifier Use: The Do’s and Don’ts
Pacifiers are to babies like shoes are to puppies. The attraction is real.
Babies naturally suck as a source of comfort. During the first 18 months, the habit isn't harmful and is part of the natural coping process.
If you choose to give your little one a pacifier past age one, keep these do's and don'ts in mind:
• Develop a dependency – Prolonged use of a pacifier can cause jaw misalignment and teeth protrusion, especially once baby teeth erupt.
• Sugarcoat it – If your child doesn't want to use a pacifier, don't try to coat it in sugar, as this could increase the risk of cavities.
• Create a choking hazard – Your baby's pacifier should always be a single piece made out of a durable material. Avoid pacifiers made of multiple pieces or hard plastic.
• Wean it – It's best to begin weaning your child before he or she reaches 24 months. Use these tips to make the process easier.
• Keep it clean – Pacifiers can be a breeding ground for bacteria that can harm a child's oral and overall health. Remember to rinse it with hot water and soap after each use.
• Address the stress – If your child resorts to sucking when they become stressed, understand why your baby is upset before passing him the a pacifier. Are they tired, hungry, bored? Addressing the cause may help alleviate the need to suck.
Here's to a lifetime of healthy smiles! For more children's oral health tips, visit our blog.