Is Your Child Too Old for Pacifiers?

Is your child attached to pacifiers, soothers, “soo-soo”, “binky”? Are you wondering whether your child should break-up with pacifiers? We read the most reputable articles about pacifiers and summarized for you, so you don’t have to!


Why Use a Pacifier?

Comfort Your Baby: Is your baby fussy even after you have fed, rocked, held and cuddled him? All babies have a sucking reflex and can be comforted by using a pacifier.

Reduce Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Sucking on a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS. This published article looked at seven researches around the world, including USA, to see if this was true. Conclusion? Absolutely. But use pacifiers with caution because they are not without problems. Read on to see why. Check out statements from Mayo Clinic regarding SIDS.

Better than Thumb Sucking: Breaking up with a soother is much easier than stopping thumb-sucking habit.


Why Stop the Pacifier?

Teeth Change: Cavities, crooked teeth and gum disease can result from using soothers for too long. Cavities happen more likely if the child is still using a pacifier after age 5 or if the parent is putting honey or sugar on a soother. The child can have gap between top and bottom teeth (they don’t touch) or top teeth flaring out. Hello, braces!

Bone Change: Yes, prolonged use of a pacifier can change the bone shape. The palate becomes narrower, resulting in back teeth not really fitting together. If the habit is not stopped in time, the upper and lower jaws won’t fit together.


When to Stop the Pacifier

Start Weaning: Age 3 is a good time to start weaning from the pacifier. Read on to see how.

Absolutely Stop by age 4: This is when a pacifier starts to cause a permanent damage on teeth and facial bone.


How Do I Stop the Pacifier Habit?

Easier said then done, right? Every kid is different so we have different options for your to choose from.

Cold Turkey: Throw out all the pacifiers. Don’t keep a few just in case. The last thing you want is for your child to find one and use it again and start all over again.

Soother Exchange Program: Playtime Pediatric Dentistry wants to help! Your child gives us the soothers and we award the child with certificate and prize.

Replacement: Instead of the pacifier, offer a cute doll or stuffed toy for comfort.

Soother Fairy: Put it under the pillow and let the soother fairy take it at night.

Bye-Bye Binky Party: Let’s celebrate! Why not throw a party for this milestone for your child?

Cut the Tip: Kids get satisfaction from the suction that pacifier creates when they suck on it. When the seal is broken, there won’t be any suction. You can do this by cutting the pacifier every week until there is none left. See this illustration from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.


Dr. Ella Choi is a certified specialist in pediatric dentistry serving South Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Aldergrove in Beautiful British Columbia.