Pacifiers and Bad Teeth

Q:  “My baby loves her pacifier. She is 5 months old and I am still nursing. Some people tell me I should make her stop or she will have terrible teeth and stop breastfeeding prematurely. Is that true?”

A:  Pacifiers are similar to thumbs in providing the comfort of sucking, but they seem to cause different reactions from parents, friends and family.

Thumbsucking usually lasts longer because children always have access to their thumb, whereas parents can more easily control the use of a pacifier.

Speech development can be affected by pacifier use if the child using it tries to speak with it in his mouth. Thumbsucking does not pose this potential problem.

Pacifier use generally stops by age 3, so it rarely causes the dental problems that can occur when thumbsucking continues past age 4 or 5.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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