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Do Pacifiers Cause Damage to Toddlers Teeth? Best Age for Taking Pacifier Away & More

Smile Reef

Facial structures have evolved over time. This includes our jaws, mouth and airways. This is evident with wisdom teeth removals, tonsillectomies and adenoid removals. Did your grandparents or their parents need these procedures? Probably not. For the most part, our jaws just aren’t developing to fit all 32 human teeth. This may be caused by rubber nipples, sippy cups, baby food and allergies to food that can lead to breathing issues. These can all cause faces to develop differently, causing them to be less full and less symmetrical, with weaker profiles and receding chins. Is it possible then that pacifiers cause teeth problems?

Pacifiers & Crooked Teeth

Parents don’t really think about the shifts in facial development of their children. Good oral development happens when early sucking habits are stopped, good feeding and swallowing habits are established, strong chewing skills are developed and ensuring your child breathes through their nose. Pacifiers can become a problem when they affect the shape of the jaw as it develops. Pacifiers are beneficial to newborn babies because they have a strong urge to suckle. They are also helpful for babies that are having a hard time latching to breastfeed by developing oral muscles. Pacifiers have also been found to reduce the risk of SIDS. Problems linked to pacifiers depend on how long a child uses one. Dental development is affected when children use one for longer than 6 months. Using one for longer than six months also turns it into a source of comfort, which is not what is in intended for.

Pacifier Suckling vs. Sucking

Suckling is a reflex where the tongue moves front to back. The tongue is cupped to allow the baby to get more milk when they breastfeed. After two to six months, this reflex turns into a sucking movement. Sucking movement is actively controlled by the baby, with more of an up and down movement of the tongue. The best way for baby to transition from suckling to sucking is breastfeeding. It’s also the best way to prevent the constant need to use a pacifier.

Best Age for Taking Pacifier Away

The ideal time to take a pacifier away is when baby starts cooing and babbling. This usually happens at about five months of age. Cooing and babbling are indications that baby has control over their tongue and mouth and they have moved from suckling to sucking. This is also when your baby has started to teeth and you can swap out pacifiers for teething rings and other items that will soothe them.

Teeth Damage & Dental Problems Associated with Pacifier Use

If your child uses a pacifier past the age of two, there’s a higher chance of improper dental development, such as:
• Anterior open bite, where the front teeth do not come together
• Posterior crossbite, where the front teeth are in overbite, but the molars don’t fit in a side to side relation
• Narrow inter-molar width, which is the distance from molar to molar

Pediatric Dentistry

Stopping pacifier use at an early age can prevent dental issues. Are you concerned about your child’s teeth? Contact Smile Reef today to set up a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Why Does My Child Have So Many Cavities? Sugary Foods, Bacteria, Dry Mouth & More

Smile Reef

Here at Smile Reef we frequently take care of the dental needs for siblings. It is not uncommon for one sibling to have more cavities than the other children on a routine basis. We will have parents ask us frequently why some of their children get more cavities than their other children. Smile Reef wants to explore some of the reasons for this today. We hope that you find the information below useful.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

Many people assume that you get more cavities if you are not brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. Brushing and flossing definitely will help reduce the number of cavities that you get but they will not eliminate them all together. We have many patients that brush and floss just like they should every day and they will still get cavities. Some people are just more susceptible to cavities for a variety of reasons.
Sugary Foods & Drinks Cause Tooth Decay – The largest culprit for cavities is your diet. What you are putting into your body definitely impacts your oral health. When you eat or drink sugary foods or drinks the sugar sits in your mouth on your teeth and along your gum line. The sugar draws bacteria to it. Bacteria can erode your tooth enamel. Your teeth need strong enamel because that is what helps protect your teeth from decay. If your teeth get decayed you will get cavities. Simply cutting down on sodas, juices, sweets, and carbohydrates can help you have less cavities. We recommend that you replace those foods with delicious fruits and vegetables. Instead of drinking soda water is a significantly better choice for your oral hygiene. Many people choose to brush their teeth after eating lots of sugary foods.
Bacteria Causes Dental Caries – Cavities are formed when bacteria eats away at your teeth. The bacteria quantity in each person is unique. Some people have more bacteria in their mouth than others. The more bacteria you have in your mouth the more likely you are to develop cavities. Regular brushing and flossing will help combat aggressive bacteria in your mouth.
Dry Mouth Can Cause Cavities – Another cause of cavities is not having enough saliva in your mouth or having frequent dry mouth. Saliva serves many purposes in our bodies. Saliva helps you digest food and keep your mouth moist. The properties of saliva counteract the bacteria that cause cavities in your mouth. If you have frequent dry mouth try rinsing with mouth wash every day to enhance the enamel on your teeth. You will also want to drink plenty of water every day. If you still have dry mouth on a regular basis contact your doctor.
Cavity Prone Teeth Shapes – Sometimes your tooth shape makes you more susceptible to cavities than other people. If you naturally have more spaces in between your teeth food particles, sugars, and bacteria can easily catch in the spaces between your teeth and create a cavity. Some people have deep grooves on their teeth. These deep grooves also make you more susceptible to cavities. You will want to consider brushing teeth more frequently if you have this problem.

Pediatric Dentistry

Smile Reef hopes this helped you understand why some of your kids get cavities more frequently than others. You can help them by encouraging them to eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, floss daily, and brush twice a day. Even if they do all of this they may still get cavities but at that point you can rest assured that you are doing everything you can do. Contact Smile Reef to schedule an appointment today!