New-age Orthodontic Pacifiers
Instead of giving your children regular pacifiers to prevent them from sucking their thumbs, dentists recommend that parents use orthodontic pacifiers. These pacifiers are designed to prevent misalignment of teeth and unforeseen orthodontic emergencies as the child grows older. Many dentists and pediatricians recommend an orthodontic pacifier once the infant has gotten used to breastfeeding. It’s good for the baby if they’re put on orthodontic pacifiers when they are about four weeks of age.
Thumbs Vs. Pacifiers
Children get a great deal of emotional satisfaction from sucking their own thumbs, which is why once this becomes a habit, it’s very hard to stop it. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, it’s easier to make a child stop using the pacifier, than to stop the child from sucking its thumb.
Overall, it’s healthier for your child to use a pacifier than to suck its own thumb. Here are the reasons for this:
- It’s hard to break the thumb sucking habit because the baby’s thumb is always handy. It’s easier to break the pacifier-sucking habit, if the pacifier is given only at certain times.
- Thumb sucking pushes the bottom jaw backward and the top jaw forward; this can misalign and form the jaw wrongly over time.
- Thumb sucking can push unwanted bacteria into the child’s mouth and cause sickness.
- Always purchase several pacifiers in your infant’s size
- Purchase more pacifiers as your baby gets older, following the manufacturer’s age recommendations
- Try several brands and pacifier types till you find the one that baby likes.
- Ask your baby’s pediatrician to recommend pacifier types and brands for you to try before you purchase.
The orthodontic pacifier nipple has a round top and flat bottom, resembling the breast nipple which flattens in the baby’s mouth while breastfeeding. This reduces pressure on baby’s developing teeth and gums, thus preventing tooth misalignment. Orthodontic pacifiers cause fewer open bite and overbite issues, when compared to traditional round pacifiers.
- Take the pacifier away when baby is a year old. Do this gradually, and be sure to praise and reward the baby for eschewing the pacifier.
- Keep a pacifier ready at naptime; babies tend to thumb-suck when they’re tired.
- Avoid pacifier and thumb sucking beyond the age of 2, to prevent misalignment of baby’s jaw and teeth.
- Make your child feel secure and happy so that he or she gives up the pacifier or the thumb naturally.