When it comes to pacifiers, the benefits may be felt equally between a baby and its parents. The soothing effect pacifiers have on a child gives parents some time to relax themselves, and have other benefits to the child such as reducing pain during teething, as well as a reduction in sudden infant death syndrome.
Dr. Rashmi Bhatnagar | Bella Vista Dental Care - 888-757-8007
But are there any downsides to a pacifier? BellaVista Dental Care’s Rashmi Bhatnagar, a mother of twins, who admits pacifiers can be key to a mother’s sanity, says there are a couple things to keep in mind when it comes to your baby’s pacifier.
1. Alignment issues
“If a child is allowed to use a pacifier for a long period of time – as the bone is growing – the bone will conform to the shape of the pacifier,” says Bhatnagar. “That happens with thumb sucking too. Any type of force as the bone is growing will guide the bone in that direction, meaning instead of a nice horseshoe formation, you can get an upward curve of the teeth, specifically the front four teeth.”
To avoid this, Bhatnagar advises parents use orthodontic pacifiers, which are designed flatter in shape and reduce the potential of misaligned teeth.
The mouth is a dirty place on its own, but add to that the germs on a child’s fingers, and a pacifier can become a haven for germs.
“It’s important to keep in mind that your child may be touching things that other children have touched, that the pacifier may hit the floor at times and collect germs, and that when placed back in the mouth, you are introducing those germs into your child’s body,” says Bhatnagar.
Some pacifiers come with clips to pin to your baby’s outfit, Bhatnagar adds. This helps reduce germ exposures from the ground, but still not entirely from the child’s fingers.