Pacifiers: Help or Hinderance
August 1, 2020 at 9:00 AM
by Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry

A lot of parents succumb to the allure of pacifiers at least once in a while to help calm their children. The topic of letting your child have their Binky is a highly debated one in the parental community. For some, they’re lifesavers, but others see them as a guaranteed path to braces in the future. Which side is really correct?

The American Academy of General Dentistry says that pacifiers have both benefits and drawbacks.


  • Pacifiers can be a source of near instant comfort to infants, giving parents a much needed break from their fussing.
  • Pacifiers can help reduce the chances of Sudden Death Syndrome, as when babies have their binkies, they sleep less deeply and are more likely to be easily awakened


  • Extended use of pacifiers can hurt the development of the babys mouth and teeth
  • Prolonged use can change the shape of the roof of the babys mouth
  • Long term use can prevent proper growth of the mouth and cause problems with the alignment of the teeth
  • Pacifiers can also increase the risk of acute middle ear infections

So, while a pacifier can be an awesome tool for calming and soothing most babies, and it’s much preferable to them sucking on their thumbs, dental experts warn that using them after pre-school age can hinder the development of healthy teeth. It’s even more important to note that continuous use past the age of three can cause serious dental malformation in your child’s mouth. Also, children who continue to use pacifiers after their toddler years have passed may be more likely to need braces in the future.

Guidelines for Pacifier Usage

If you do choose to give your child a pacifier, follow the guidelines below to reduce the risk of it affecting their dental development.

  • Only give your baby the pacifier when they need to fall asleep
  • Use a pacifier with ventilation holes in the shield to permit the passage of air
  • Clean and change out the pacifier regularly and frequently

Breaking the Pacifier Habit

Wean your baby off the pacifier by the time they are two years old, as till that point, teeth alignment and bone development issues generally correct themselves by around six months after the child stops using the pacifier.

Use the following tips to help break your baby’s pacifier habit

  • Make a hole in it or cut off the top to make it shorter to reduce the baby’s sucking gratification
  • Don’t take it with you when you go out of the house or on vacation
  • Talk to your pediatric dentist for more ways to weanyour baby off their binky for good