Stopping Pacifier Use
Sucking is a natural reflex in babies for comfort, pleasure and security. As your toddler continues to demand the “binky”, the question of when and how to stop its use becomes a dilemma for many parents. Pediatric dentists agree that limiting pacifier use once your child turns 2 and eliminating it by age 3 is necessary to avoid dental problems that may develop as a result:
- The front top teeth may tip forward.
- The front part of the upper jaw may get pushed forward.
- The bite may be disrupted leaving an open bite at the front.
The good news is that most children wean themselves off this habit by age 3. For those that don’t, there are ways to discourage or stop the habit altogether.
Some suggestions that have worked for moms who come to our pediatric dentistry office in Havertown:
- Stop the habit cold and weather the storm.
- Gradually wean your child by limiting pacifier use over time.
- Deflate the binky by puncturing it so it is flat and no longer fun to suck on.
- Shrink the binky by cutting off small portions at the tip and progressing over days until there is nothing left.
- Let your child give or “trade in” the pacifier at the store for an alternative stuffed toy.
- Let your child put it in a plastic bag and carry it out to the garbage man so your child knows it is gone for good. You can the replace it with a stuffed toy.
Whichever method you choose, there is no perfect or easy way to stop the pacifier habit. Stay on course and do not cave in as this gives your child mixed messages and prolongs the process. Patience on your part and lots of cuddles for your baby will help weather the passing storm.
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Eagle Crest Pediatric Dentistry
Dr. Rose Wadenya - Board Certified Pediatric Dentist
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