One of the more common ways to calm a fussing infant is to give him or her a pacifier. This is okay but can become a problem because, if allowed to go on for too long, your baby could have future issues with his or her teeth. Your children’s dentist in Newtown says there are ways to prevent this from happening by creatively encouraging better habits. Learn more about the issues that pacifiers can cause and what you can do as a parent.
What Can a Pacifier Do to Your Baby’s Teeth Over Time?
A pacifier can be a great way to calm your fussy infant. It’s meant to be used between the first and sixth months of his or her life and can actually help to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, but everything has its limits.
Therefore, if you allow your child to use the pacifier beyond six months, you run the risk of altering the shape of his or her mouth and the alignment of the teeth. The reason this happens is that your child is physically very pliable at that age.
How to Break the Pacifier Habit
When the time comes, you need ways to disengage your child from the dependency on the pacifier. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Praise – A great way to support new habit-forming for a child is to ecstatically praise him or her when there is any behavior close to that which you’re looking to instill.
- Reduce Stress – Babies have their own set of stressors, and they use their pacifiers to deal with them. That means that if you can limit the number of situations where they feel anxious, you can reduce their dependence on the pacifier.
- Don’t Punish Them – You want to avoid punishing your child if he or she reverts back to the pacifier. That will only increase his or her level of anxiety and potentially undo the progress that you’ve made.
When all else fails, one thing remains constant: the comfort and reassurance of a parent. There are suggested timelines for your child to reach certain developmental milestones, but they’re not meant to be rigid. All children are different and move at their own pace. So if one is evolving a little slower than another, don’t fret. Just keep comforting him or her. Your patience will be rewarded.
Also keep in mind that your dentist in Newtown is available to help along the way in ensuring that your infant has the best start to his or her oral health. Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns that you may have.
About the Author
Dr. Glenn Barlow graduated from the Maurice H, Kornberg School of Dentistry at Temple University in Philadelphia. He stays abreast of the latest advances in dentistry by enrolling in continuing education classes at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. A member of the American Dental Association and several other professional organizations, Dr. Barlow practices at The Dentists of Newtown and can be reached for more information through his website.