Knowing When To Say Goodbye To The Pacifier
Do you have a young child or loved one who is always grabbing for their pacifier or continuously sucks their thumb? It is not uncommon for many infants to use these methods to help as a self-soothing technique. It is also a common coping mechanism as a child gets a little older to help them feel calm and not overwhelmed by a situation. As easy as it is for a parent to use these methods to help a child during a tantrum or a sleepless night, at a certain age, pacifier use and thumbsucking become a problem with regard to teeth. Continue reading to learn more about the effect they can have on the teeth.
Why Break the Habit of Pacifier Use or Thumbsucking?
There are two chores that many parents struggle with when it comes to breaking children’s habits: eliminating the need for pacifiers or thumbsucking and potty training. While we can’t do anything to help with the potty training, we can discuss the need to eliminate the pacifier or thumbsucking. We know that it can be difficult to help transition children away from these comforts, but it is in their best interest to transition sooner rather than later due to the potential damage they can be causing to the mouth and the shape of the face. According to the American Dental Association, a child past the age of four should no longer be using a pacifier or sucking their thumb. If the behavior continues much longer past this age, you may start to notice a change in the teeth, jaw, and developmental aspects of the mouth.
Damage It May Cause
Having a pacifier or finger in the mouth for an extended period of time can cause the arch of the mouth to become narrowed and vaulted. It can also cause front teeth to begin to project forward, even causing the teeth to eventually protrude out of the mouth. Prolonged use of these objects can also lead to various speech concerns such as a lisp or mispronunciation of sounds. Children learn to adjust and often change their speech patterns to accommodate having a pacifier or thumb in their mouth.
If you are located in the Kewaskum, WI area and your child is a pacifier user or thumbsucker, we can inspect the teeth during their next appointment to check for any issues with the jaw placement or alignment of their teeth. Any issues can be treated with the use of orthodontics; however, it is important to remember the earlier the behavior is stopped, the less intense treatment will be. We look forward to seeing you and your family soon.