Pacifiers provide a great deal of comfort to your baby, easing away any fussiness they feel while maintaining a peaceful home that benefits you and the rest of your family. Unfortunately, extended use of a pacifier can be dangerous to your child's dental development. Most dentists believe you should ween your baby off the pacifier before the age of two to avoid issues that affect their teeth and their underlying bite. Here are a few issues that may arise if your child continues to use their pacifier.
1. Interfere with Eruption of Teeth
One of the first problems of extended pacifier use is that this method of soothing may interfere with the eruption of their teeth. Each child is different, meaning your child's teeth may develop at a different time as another child. However, most dentists agree the first teeth should erupt through the gum tissue around six months of age.
If your child is using their pacifier excessively at this time, the eruption may be delayed. This is not necessarily dangerous to your child's oral health, but it can lead to complications as more and more teeth begin to erupt.
2. Misalignments of Bite
Another issue your child will face is an issue with their bite. Sucking on a pacifier, when your child's teeth have come in or before their teeth have started to erupt, can cause misalignments in their bites. Overbites, underbites, and even crossbites are common in children who use pacifiers while they are developing their teeth. In most cases, correcting these bites will require early orthodontic care, such as palatal expanders and braces.
3. Increased Ear Infections
Characterized by pain, discomfort, swelling, and difficulty hearing, acute middle ear infections can cause your child a great deal of discomfort. Treating these ear infections is possible with prescription antibiotics. In some instances, children may suffer from chronic ear infections or recurring ear infections that never fully heal.
Most parents are surprised to learn the chronic or recurring ear infections of the middle ear may stem from their child's use of a pacifier. The continuous sucking on the pacifier opens the auditory tubes of the ear, which allows fluid and bacteria to flow into the middle ear. Over time, the fluid will build up, causing the swelling and inflammation associated with a middle ear infection.
Understanding the possible risks of allowing your child to use their pacifier excessively or for a prolonged amount of time is smart. This guide will help you understand the dangers that may interfere with their smile and underlying health.
For more information, contact a company like Alaska Dentistry For Kids.