PACIFIERS: THE PERSPECTIVE OF A DENTIST
An article published last year in the New York Times examined the question that many mothers ask, “Do pacifiers affect baby’s teeth?” The article, written by C. Claiborne Ray, explored this question by consulting Dr. Abhinav Sinha, director of the pediatric dental clinic at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The pediatric dental concerns discussed by Dr. Sinha were related to the development of baby’s teeth and bite. For example, when the jaw is closed, a noticeable gap may be seen between the upper and lower teeth. Or, the child may develop an overjet which is a somewhat horizontal protrusion of the front two upper teeth. Bite problems include the development of an overbite, when the upper front teeth significantly overlap the lower front teeth, or a crossbite, when the upperback teeth fall inside the lower back teeth. Dr. Sinah recommends weaning the baby from the pacifier before the second birthday because most of these problems arise primarily after extended or “chronic” pacifier use such as babies using the pacifier well into toddlerhood such as after the age of five. He also recommends using the pacifier only when baby is going to sleep.
PACIFIERS: THE PERSPECTIVE OF A PEDIATRICIAN
One of America’s favorite pediatricians, Dr. Harvey Karp, makes a very important point regarding babies and the affects of pacifiers. In his best-selling book The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Karp encourages the use of pacifiers to assist in quieting a colicy baby. It is one of his 5 S’s for calming baby–sucking. Dr. Karp strongly recommends weaning the baby from the pacifier at the age of 5 months. Rather than comment on the affects of the pacifier on baby’s teeth, he reasons that with continued use past the age of five months the child will become emotionally attached to the pacifier since it provides a very soothing feeling. He explains that by the age of 5 months a baby can learn to soothe themselves by sucking a thumb or fist, so it is not necessary to give them the pacifier. If they learn to soothe themselves with sucking their hand, they will be OK without the pacifier and will not need to go through the difficult process of weaning from it.
Watch the adorable twins in the above video from jefferinhutt’s youtube channel.