Good habits from a young age

Pacifiers – good for one thing, bad for another

Every mother (and father) knows that you would do anything to pacify a screaming or upset baby or toddler. Many a time are parents thankful for dummies or other forms of pacifier to calm and soothe a child.

Dummies and thumb sucking are something that forms into a habit, one which is difficult to break. Its best not to let a child have a dummy or start thumb sucking (not as easy as it sounds, I know) due to the implications it can have on the formation of your child’s teeth.  Although pacifiers do not always cause problems, it depends on the extremity to which they are being used or carried out i.e. thumb sucking.

Any form of pacifier can cause problems such as:

  • Changes to the palate or roof of the mouth
  • Improper growth of the mouth
  • Uneven alignment of the teeth
  • Possibly causing the front teeth to protrude

Children usually suck their thumb till they are about 4 years old.  A dummy is usually discarded by this age too.  A child should have all their primary teeth by this age, 20 teeth.  Any changes or anything abnormal should be checked by your dentist.  A child should start visiting the dentist as soon as their teeth start to appear to form good dental habits and make the child feel at ease and see that the dentist is nothing to be scared of.

If you are finding it hard to break your child’s pacifier habit your dentist can offer advice.  Alternatively your health visitor or doctor can help too.

Another habit to pacify a child is to give a child a bed time bottle of milk or juice.  Often the baby or child keeps the teat in their mouth when they sleep resulting in milk or juice being in constant contact with the teeth, possibly causing decay.  This is known as ‘baby bottle tooth decay’.  Prevention is always best, so try to avoid sending your child to bed with a bottle.

Leave a Reply