One of the most common questions I get asked by parents is:

“How do dummies impact my child’s teeth?”

Weighing up the pros and cons of using a dummy before introducing one to your baby is a great first step in gaining awareness around dental development. While each child’s development is individual, there are some risks associated with using a dummy, that parents should be aware of. The good news is that it’s never too late to tackle this issue and with a bit of guidance, you can kick the habit without too much drama. Many of the kids we see do have issues with their teeth and jaws from sucking a dummy as an infant. The most common issue associated with dummy sucking is the development of an “anterior open bite”, where the front top and bottom teeth don’t touch when the back teeth bite together. Here’s some of our frequently asked questions about dummy use:

Does limited dummy use cause dental issues?

Just like digit and thumb sucking, the impact of sucking a pacifier depends upon the intensity of sucking, how long the dummy is used for and also how often. An older child who has a dummy in its mouth all day is much more likely to have issues than a 4-month-old baby who uses a dummy just to go to sleep.

Are orthodontic dummies still bad for teeth?

Although there is a barrage of dummies on the market purporting to be “orthodontic” in nature, there are very few dummies that don’t eventually interfere with growth of the jaws and teeth. Issues with speech and feeding can be some of the undesired impacts of dummy use.

When should we get rid of the dummy?

Try to stop using them by 6 months – that’s when babies start eating solids so they need to develop their chewing muscles. A dummy is called a pacifier – so don’t use one unless you’re trying to calm your baby. Remember, sucking is developmentally normal in babies, but as babies grow, they grow out of it and learn the skills to chew, so definitely aim to kick the habit before your baby turns into a toddler.

Are dummies okay to use if we only use them at sleep time?

Don’t let them walk around with it all the time! Injuries can happen with toddlers and dummies, plus they are trying to learn facial expressions and speech – give them a chance to do that.

Knowing all the issues that dummy use can cause, our recommendation would be to find alternatives to soothe your baby. If you already have a dummy addict on your hands, don’t panic! We are here to help you.

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