stop pecifing preschoolers

Stop Pacifying Pre-Schoolers

If your child’s heading to pre-school this year and is still using a pacifier,                    now’s the time to work with your child to drop the “binkey”.

Thousands of parents rely on pacifiers to calm and soothe a fussy baby. For                    children under the age of one, the continuous sucking action is normal and                    healthy.                   

However, if parents allow children to continue using a pacifier after age one                    and into toddler years, this action becomes habit instead of a natural instinct                    and can be detrimental to a child’s oral health, reports the Academy of                    General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing                    education.                   

“Prolonged pacifier use can impede the natural development of teeth, the jaw                    and normal palate formation,” says Julie Ann Barna, DMD, MAGD,                    spokesperson for the Academy. “For a child with several baby teeth, pacifier                    use can cause upper teeth to protrude and lower teeth to jut in.”                   

In addition to moving and shifting teeth, studies show that pacifier users are                    more likely to suffer from acute middle ear infections. “Continuous sucking on                    a pacifier causes the auditory tubes to open abnormally allowing secretions                    from the throat to seep into the middle ear,” says Dr. Barna. “This makes the                    ears more susceptible to infection-causing bacteria.”                   

Researchers have found no physiological reason why children should be                    allowed a pacifier past the age of one, and report a trend that many prolonged                    pacifier users become prolonged thumb-suckers after the pacifier is taken                    away, adding to a child’s risk of damaging the natural position of the teeth.                   

For the health and proper development of your child, Dr. Barna agrees that                    parents should drop the pacifier by the child’s first birthday and recommends                    “trading-in” the pacifier for sippee cups which promote the development of           hand-eye coordination and help break the sucking habit.