There is much debate regarding the use of pacifiers, but there are both pros and cons.
- They help reduce the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by helping to arouse babies from a deep sleep because they don’t seem to sleep as deeply
- Pacifiers often have a calming effect and have been shown to prevent pain and anxiety.
- Mothers tend to wipe off fallen pacifiers by putting them in their mouth therefore risk transferring their cavity-causing bacteria to their children.
- There can be long-term complications from long-term use of pacifiers which include problems with the proper growth of the mouth, positioning of the teeth and shifts in the shape of the roof of the mouth:
- Prolonged use can lead to the development of a gap between the teeth and possible mouth distortion
- Posterior crossbite, when the upper back teeth are tucked inside the lower back teeth
- Overbite from the upper teeth
- Prevent children from being verbal thereby possibly hindering speech skills at an early age.
- Use of a well-formed nipple allows the pacifier to remain in the correct sucking position.
- Start discouraging children from using their pacifiers as early as 6 months with complete stop by two years of age.
Before age 2, any problems with growing teeth usually correct themselves within 6 months of cessation of pacifier use.