New mothers cannot breastfeed their children all the time. In order to soothe them, they may turn to pacifiers. If you want to do the same, go for an orthodontic pacifier.
Your child should not turn into a dummy before their breastfeeding habits are firmly in place.
This happens by the time they have been feeding for 3 to 4 weeks.
The thing is once your child likes the pacifier, it is hard for them to let go.
To minimize the negative effects of the dummy, an orthodontic pacifier is a better option.
This article takes a deep dive into this pacifier so keep reading below to know whether you should get it for your child.
Difference between Conventional and Orthodontic Pacifiers
Pacifiers usually come in two shapes and types.
The difference between the two is mainly the shape of the nipple.
A conventional pacifier is rounder in shape.
The rounded nipple of a traditional pacifier is similar to that of a small ball or rounded in the shape of a bulb.
These are more mainstream, hence if you are simply searching for pacifiers, you will find plenty of these.
On the other hand, an orthodontic pacifier’s shape is slightly different.
The difference in the nipple enables it to prevent dental problems such as overbite and misalignment of teeth.
The nipple here is flat and square.
Hence, the part that goes inside the baby’s mouth is flat rather than round and imitates the action of breastfeeding.
Thus, it will not lead to as many dental health problems.
Both of these pacifiers are made from latex, silicone rubber or soft plastic.
Among these options, those that are made from silicon are the best ones to give to your little one.
Silicon has a smoother surface that is not germ-friendly.
Therefore, it keeps the germs and bacteria at bay preventing them from entering the surface and then your child’s mouth.
So among these two, if parents have to choose a pacifier for their child, it should be an orthodontic one made of silicone rubber.
Benefits of an Orthodontic Pacifier
Parents are concerned about pacifier use misaligning their child’s bite and resulting in dental problems.
If your child is still using the pacifier beyond they are 2 years old, it will start interfering with their teeth and jaw shape.
The damage may be reversible only by treatment after a while.
Though, it is harder to wean off your child from using the dummies they are quite used to enjoying.
In order to minimize the damage, begin by using an orthodontic pacifier.
It works because it has a flat shape that exerts less pressure on the baby’s mouth.
The rounded top and flat bottom of this pacifier support the shape of the developing jaw and roof of the mouth.
When the child sucks on the pacifier, it flattens in the baby’s mouth, similar to how a mother’s nipple forms during nursing.
Therefore, it turns into a natural sucking action that reduces any pressure on the mouth and jaw.
The extra flat shaft reduces the pressure on the jaw and teeth.
Moreover, the shape and an integrated dental step in the pacifier reduce the distance that is between the upper and lower teeth because of the pacifier.
On the other hand, there is enough space for the tongue to move freely when the child using the orthodontic pacifier.
Due to these dental benefits, there are fewer chances that an orthodontic pacifier will cause as many problems as a traditional one.
In fact, researches show that it reduces overbite and open bit problems in children.
However, it is important to remember that it does not completely eradicate the possibility of any dental problem forming due to the use of pacifiers.
That said, pacifiers as a whole have benefits for you and your child as well.
Let’s know more below!
Advantages of Using Pacifiers
Soothes the Baby
A child resorts to thumb-sucking when they are anxious and want to make sense of their world.
It can also simply be satisfying.
Hence, some babies are the happiest when they are sucking on something.
Gives Parents a Break
Don’t feel bad if you give your child a pacifier so that you can catch some break.
That time will allow you to relax and catch up on some chores while your child is busy on their own.
Reduces the chances of SIDS
The biggest benefit of using a pacifier is that it reduces the chances of SIDS.
SIDS is sudden infant death syndrome.
Giving your child a pacifier to suck on at bedtime and nap time can prevent SIDS.
Help them to sleep
If your baby has trouble sleeping, give them the pacifier right before they sleep so that it soothes them and let them settle down.
Hence, a pacifier will allow your child to sleep peacefully.
It can be distracting
When you take your child for a vaccine shot, blood test or other procedures that will surely hurt, giving them a pacifier can provide them the distraction they need to calm down.
Let them use it so that you do not have to worry about soothing a crying baby in the hospital.
It is disposable
Breaking the habit of using a pacifier is easier because all you have to do is throw it away.
If your child starts thumb or finger sucking instead, now that is hard to break the habit.
However, this item is disposable so they will no longer use it when it is not around.
Helps with Flight Discomfort
A child cannot intentionally pop their ears on a flight by yawning or swallowing.
However, a pacifier helps with ear pain.
Choosing the Best One
While choosing the best pacifier for your child, consult their pediatrician and dentist.
Ideally, you should not begin pacifier use till your child’s breastfeeding habits are set in place.
This takes around 3 to 4 weeks to finally settle down.
Once they are sure when they need soothing and when feeding, you can start giving them the pacifier.
Besides choosing between a conventional and orthodontic pacifier, you also have to look into the size, design and construction of the pacifier.
Everything else improves with time, so does the pacifier.
It now comes in sizes.
Hence, you should choose the size based on the baby’s age.
In fact, you should also notice the size of the shield that is present between the ring and the nipple.
That should at least be 1.5 inches in diameter to prevent any choking risk.
Also, ensure that the pacifier is neither too big or small for your child.
A small pacifier may all get inside their mouth and a big one may not fit in so they can end up exerting more pressure.
You do not want to buy a pacifier that has built-in gadgets or liquid interiors.
In fact, those with moving parts such as beads are not good either.
Only go for a pacifier that is one piece.
The liquids can leak and get in your child’s mouth, so can the moving parts.
Stay away from such hazards.
When the pacifier is one piece it should not attach to your child’s clothes, fingers, hands, crib or neck.
All of these can pose a risk to your child while they are sleeping.
If there is any string attached, it may entangle them when they are asleep.
Keep the pacifier plain and simple.
How to Withdraw It?
In order to keep your child away from any risk of dental problems, you need to stop pacifier use at the right time.
While an orthodontic pacifier can help in preventing several oral health problems, the surefire way of preventing them is to sop the sue at the right time.
Start weaning off your child from when they are one year old.
The damage done by a pacifier is usually reversible if they stop by 24 months.
However, if they keep continuing, the damage will only become more prominent affecting their permanent teeth eruption.
By all means, your child should stop using a pacifier by they are 4 years old.
Otherwise, they will need braces or aligners to correct their teeth later on.
What you can do instead:
- Be patient in the process, start weaning them gradually from the time they are one
- Only give them a pacifier when it is bedtime or naptime, they do not get it at other times
- Praise them whenever they stick to the routine and don’t go looking for the pacifier
- Ensure they are secure and comforted so that they do not turn to thumb sucking and pacifier use
- Show them videos or take them to a dentist to show them what happens when they do not stop the use of a pacifier
The process will be slow but your child will eventually come through.
Make sure they leave the pacifier before it is too late and the dental damage is done.
To prevent major dental damage, give them an orthodontic pacifier from the beginning and stop its use when its time for your little one to grow up.