Leading pediatric dentistry expert, Dr. Barry L. Jacobson, says that the use of pacifiers can be detrimental to a child’ oral health.
Online PR News – 31-March-2017 – New York, NY – “I’m often asked for my opinion on pacifiers,” says Dr. Barry L. Jacobson, DMD, FAAPD, a childrens dentist with offices in New York City and world-renowned as a pediatric dental specialist (www.949pediatricdentistry.com).
According to Jacobson, sucking on a pacifier or finger is natural and common in children. In fact, he says that babies suck even when they are not hungry.
“This is a natural reflex known as non-nutritive sucking, which is used for pleasure, comfort and security,” says Dr. Jacobson who notes that sucking is so natural that some babies begin to suck on their fingers or thumbs even before they are born.
Although it is natural, Dr. Jacobson says that when babies repeatedly suck on a pacifier or thumb and finger over a long period of time, it can cause serious oral health issues for the child, including, symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay.
“With a child that sucks his or her thumb or a pacifier, you run the risk that their upper front teeth will begin to tip outward and not grow in properly,” explains Dr. Jacobson. “In addition, crooked teeth and bite problems can occur with prolonged sucking, which may result in the need for significant orthodontic treatments, later in life, to correct the damage.”
Dr. Jacobson says that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends a pacifier over a finger or thumb, when it comes to non-nutritive sucking, because the pacifier habit is easier to break. However, the AAPD, according to Dr. Jacobson, recommends a number of safety considerations when selecting a pacifier for your child.
“The shield on the pacifier should be wider than the child’s mouth,” says Dr. Jacobson, “and the pacifier should be monitored for wear and tear.”
Dr. Jacobson also says that a bottle nipple should never be used as a substitute and use of the pacifier should be discontinued if the child can fit the entire pacifier in his or her mouth.
“Most of all,” Dr. Jacobson says, “You should never dip the pacifier in anything sweet, and you should never leave a baby with a pacifier unattended.”
Dr. Jacobson says that the good news for parents and caregivers is that most children will ultimately be able to give up the thumb or pacifier on their own. However, if the child’s non-nutritive sucking continues past the age of 3, the habit must be broken.
“Frankly, the earlier the habit is stopped, the better their teeth will fare in the long run,” says Dr. Jacobson. “Early visits to a pediatric dentist will help children to stop sucking on their thumbs and pacifiers and hopefully prevent damage before it is too late.”
The AAPD recommends taking the child to a pediatric dentist before age 1 or when the first tooth appears.
For 18 years, Dr. Barry L. Jacobson DMD, FAAPD, has been a leader in pediatric dental care. His practice, located at 949 Park Avenue, New York, NY, offers laser dentistry for children, cosmetic dentistry for children, preoperative dental care for children, soft tissue procedures, 3D CAD-CAM crown fabrication, porcelain fillings, and treatment of fearful children, with behavior management experts on hand. Call 212-997-6453 (212-99-SMILE) for more information or visit Dr. Jacobson’s website at www.949pediatricdentistry.com.