One of the hardest habits to break for little children is their need to use a pacifier. While there have been some pretty hot debates over whether the pacifiers are good or bad, more studies are proving that the pacifier can be both good and bad.

Pros and Cons

Despite what many people believe, some benefits result from pacifier use. The most important is that children who suck a pacifier have less risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). That’s because they don’t sleep as soundly as a baby without a pacifier. When the pacifier is used during sleep, the infant is easily aroused, so it’s less likely they’ll stop breathing.

In addition, pacifiers increase comfort and satisfaction for infants which results in great happiness.

With that said, there are some negative consequences to be aware of as well. First, they might affect your child’s oral health. Until the age of two, any alignment issues are easily corrected within six months after discontinuing the pacifier. After that, the alignment and shape of the mouth won’t change much.

There’s also an association between ear infections and pacifier use. That’s because the constant sucking motion causes the auditory tubes to open abnormally. If your child regularly battles ear infections, you might want to discontinue the pacifier.

Breaking the Habit

Breaking this habit isn’t easy, but here are several tips that might help you.

  • Dip the pacifier in vinegar so your child doesn’t want it.
  • Pierce the pacifier’s nipple to reduce satisfaction.
  • Leave the pacifier behind when you go on a trip.
  • Go cold turkey.

There are some other safety considerations to think about when using pacifiers.

  • Restrict usage to bedtime only.
  • Don’t allow the pacifier to be held inside your baby’s lips.
  • Pick one with ventilation holes to permit air passage if the pacifier gets lodged in the throat.
  • Don’t place a cord around the child’s neck.
  • Pick a symmetrical nipple.
  • Get rid of the pacifier when your child is done with it. Never share them with another child.

If you have further questions about using a pacifier with your child, be sure to speak with your dentist or learn more with Family Dentist in Virginia Beach.