The Opinion of a Kid Friendly Dentist in Forest Hills – Pacifiers – Good or Bad?

Kid Friendly Dentist Forest Hills, NY

While most parents agree that thumb sucking is a bad habit, many are unsure about what a kid friendly dentist in Forest Hills may say about pacifier use in young children. While they are a common soothing option for infants, babies and even toddlers, pacifiers do come with some potential risks. However, many new parents rely on them for survival in the first few months after bringing home a fussy baby. In addition, pacifiers may have some useful benefits when used correctly. In the end, here is what all parents should know about pacifier use in their children.

A better alternative to thumb sucking

Infants and babies have a natural sucking instinct during the first several months of life. Many young children develop the habit of sucking their thumbs or fingers at this time, which can be difficult to break and may lead to malocclusion in the future. Pacifiers are certainly a better alternative, as they can be removed gradually over time and at the recommended age. Research has shown that using a pacifier may also help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in the first year of life.

It is possible for pacifiers to impede healthy nursing habits, so parents of breastfed babies should use caution when offering a pacifier during the first six weeks of life. Nursing has several health benefits, including brain development and strengthening the immune system. It has also been shown to help strengthen the muscles in the jaw and around the mouth, which has many positive effects on future oral health and development.

The best way to approach pacifier use

Typically, a kid friendly dentist in Forest Hills would recommend that parents try to help soothe fussy babies in other ways than offering a pacifier. However, if used properly and intentionally, pacifiers can be very helpful without causing dental complications. Parents should limit pacifier use to nap and bedtime. It is also important to ensure that the pacifier being used is the proper size based on the child’s current developmental stage and age. Parents should begin to gradually wean the child from using the pacifier before age two, and pacifier use should stop altogether long before permanent teeth begin to grow in. To help encourage children to give up their pacifier, parents could offer rewards and excessive amounts of praise when they opt not to use it.


Both thumb sucking and pacifier use can lead to dental problems as a child ages. However, these risks are only a concern once a child’s permanent teeth come in. In the end, pacifiers are the better alternative for calming and soothing since they can be completely removed from the child’s grasp at the appropriate age and time. Parents who allow their child to use a pacifier should set boundaries to keep the habit under control and should seek input from their kid friendly dentist in Forest Hills to make sure the habit is not leading to dental side effects that could otherwise be prevented.

Request an appointment here: or call Metro Smiles Dental at (718) 841-9591 for an appointment in our Forest Hills office.

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