Proper Pacifier Use: The Do’s and Don’ts
By Jill Feilmeier on January 17, 2017 in Kid's Health
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.