Why You Should Stop Pacifier Use Early
The issue of pacifiers is one that is often debated. The question is always: when parents should stop the use of pacifiers with their children. As a professional Orofacial Myologist, I can clear up this question for you and tell you exactly why you should ditch pacifiers by the age of 18 months.
After the invention of the modern pacifier in 1901, the use of pacifiers increased significantly despite warnings that pacifiers cause deformations of the mouth in 1909. Use continues to grow though experts in paediatrics, speech and language pathology, dental hygienists, dentists, orthodontists, and orofacial myologists all consider pacifiers to have negative impacts on dental development.
Though pacifiers do indeed have calming effects on young children, it is actually forcing the face into positions that it should not maintain for prolonged periods of time. Forcing open the vertical dimension of the mouth causes the face to grow long and narrow and as that develops, the bottom jaw can grow down and back, creating a retruded lower jaw.
The actual sucking of the pacifier is also an issue. Prolonged sucking causes tension in the cheek muscles and pulls the hard palate downward; the tongue also drops under the pacifier, pushing the pacifier up against the roof of the mouth, creating a high and narrow palate shape instead of a normal wide and rounded shape.
Pacifiers changing the structure of the mouth in this way causes addition problems such as:
- Altering dental eruption
- Creating an anterior open bite (blocking the front teeth from coming in)
- Creates hard to break habits and unhealthy coping mechanisms for children
- Underdeveloped/weak muscles in the mouth
- Frontal or lateral lisp
- Imprecise speech/misarticulations
It is a fact that babies do not need pacifiers to self-soothe after the age of six months, therefore parents should take heed of professional advice and wean their child off of the use of pacifiers after 18 months at the very latest. If you are having trouble with this or would like to speak to a professional Orofacial Myologist for the best dental practice for your child, Maple Dental Hygiene Care is here to help you. Call us today to book an appointment: 416 835 5002.