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Should I let my Baby use a Pacifier?
Call it a binky, paci, dummy, or pacifier, you have probably heard about the dissension among pediatric experts on its usage. While some suggest using them to soothe babies dealing with colic, others say it is only good for harboring bacteria and misaligning teeth.
You are probably wondering — how can a tiny plastic and rubber appliance calm a crying infant while carrying the risk of eventually causing the need for braces? Is it possible a pacifier to cause ear infections and avert SIDS concurrently? Now you are at a standstill. Should your baby use a pacifier?
Meeting a baby’s needs
Everyone knows that babies enjoy sucking — that is how they are wired. The instinct is so great that babies can sometimes suck their thumbs in the womb. The reason for this trait is unknown, but anyone who has a newborn baby will know the activity delights them.
Pacifiers and SIDS
Besides the oral gratification that babies enjoy from pacifiers, there are other benefits. Studies have revealed a significant decrease in SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) deaths amidst babies using pacifiers. The theory is that the pacifier prevents the upper airway from getting blocked by the tongue.
Some experts believe that pacifiers push any bedding away from the baby’s nose, thereby helping them breathe, or that pacifiers calm agitated babies and prevent them from struggling in the crib and getting under the bedding. According to studies conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, significantly less SIDS occurrences were recorded among babies using pacifiers than among those who do not.
There have also been studies connecting pacifier usage to ear infections. Medical experts believe that when babies use pacifiers while dealing with a stuffy nose, it causes a damaging pressure in the tube between the nose and the ear, increasing the risk of ear infection.
There are also inconsistent studies regarding pacifier use and breastfeeding. Some studies claim that premature use of pacifiers (before four weeks) could cause decreased breastfeeding if mothers misguidedly replace breast with pacifier. Other studies suggest that babies who use pacifiers have lower instances of breastfeeding issues, probably because they learn to suck better.
Effects of pacifiers on the teeth
Although it is necessary to keep SIDS, ear infections and breastfeeding in mind, the primary cause of disagreement has always been about how pacifiers affect the teeth. Dental experts warn that thumb sucking and pacifiers cause orthodontic issues such as buck teeth, misaligned jaws, while several mothers argue that their children used pacifiers with no side-effects. What is causing this discrepancy?
Like it or not, pacifier usage affects children in different ways. The impact is dependent on three things: The frequency of sucking, the duration of sucking, and the intensity of sucking. Pacifiers can affect a child’s facial development, skeletal structure and jaw positions.
What is the bottom line?
When the jaw is malformed, you can expect the teeth to erupt incorrectly, too. Unlike thumb sucking, you can wean your child off pacifiers and the earlier you do that, the better. The cost of correcting malformations far exceeds the weaning process.
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