Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City
Although dental hygiene is important throughout your entire lifespan, it is extremely important in the first couple of years of your life. So, it’s no wonder many parents are concerned about whether or not pacifiers and baby bottles can ruin their child’s teeth.
Sucking is a natural reflex that babies develop and practice, even before they are born! It’s a normal part of development that is comforting to children even after they no longer need nourishment from breast or bottle feeding.
So, are pacifiers a problem? Sucking habits most likely won’t damage a child’s mouth in their first couple years of life but frequent and long-term sucking can cause problems. The top front teeth may begin to slant out, the bottom teeth tilt in, the upper and lower jaws become misaligned, and the roof of the mouth may be narrower side to side.
A couple of tips to consider if your child uses a pacifier are: to buy products that are constructed as one piece - the child shouldn’t have any parts that can break off easily and potentially be swallowed; and never fasten a pacifier on a string or necklace around your child’s neck - this could accidentally strangle your baby; and finally, offer your child a pacifier that is marketed “orthodontically correct.” This type of pacifier may not affect the teeth as much.
Children often satisfy their desire to suck by using a sippy cup or pacifiers. Children who are continuously sucking or breastfeeding long after they need too will increase the risk of decay. Also, when children consume sugars and other carbohydrates, they are provided with cavity causing bacteria. This makes children more prone to cavities at a young age. In early childhood years, a child’s teeth may appear to have small white spots or lines on them. These spots or lines show up on the edges of the gums and eventually may begin turning brown and chipped. Parents should contact their child’s dentist as soon as they notice this problem.
It is important to keep baby teeth healthy and to stop tooth decay as soon as possible. Baby teeth often stay in children’s mouth long after their childhood years. Tooth decay can lead to pain and trouble with eating and speaking. If tooth decay begins at an early age and teeth are lost, this can cause the adult teeth to come in crowded or crooked.