Pacifier use has become an integral part of raising a child. Most parents use them during the first year, and some parents allow their children to continue sucking on a pacifier for several years. This is partly due to the fact that this is a difficult habit to break. While there are beneficial aspects attached to this practice, many people are beginning to wonder if pacifiers cause dental problems.
The constant sucking motion occurring during pacifier use presses it up against the teeth, pushing them out of proper alignment. In particular, the upper teeth are more likely to tip forward toward the upper lip when pacifiers begin to cause dental problems. The front teeth on the bottom begin to tilt in due to the pressure applied by the continual sucking of the pacifier. This is the most common way that pacifiers cause dental problems.
Unfortunately, it can also create changes in the shape and condition of the roof of the mouth. If a child uses a zealous sucking motion, pacifier use can cause dental problems arising from the mouth constantly being locked in one position. In severe cases, the upper and lower jaws can become severely misaligned, leading to bite issues and pain. The roof of the mouth might also become misshapen with a narrowing effect caused by constantly sucking on the pacifier.
Since pacifiers cause dental problems after the age of two, many pediatricians and pediatric dentists recommend that children stop doing so by the second birthday. Before the age of two, the damage created by pacifiers causing dental problems is easily remedied simply by eliminating access to the pacifier.
If your child is still using a pacifier when the permanent teeth begin to emerge, bigger issues arise. Pacifiers cause dental problems that aren’t easily remedied in children age 4 and up. Stopping pacifier use at this age doesn’t promote the return to proper alignment, and your child will be faced with poor positioning of the teeth.