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Pacifiers and dental health
Updated: 12/30/2008 8:00:02 PM

Pacifiers and dental health Although the use of a pacifier can be beneficial to a baby's health in certain respects, parents may want to monitor the use of sucking objects when the child grows older to protect dental health.

Dr Jane Soxman, diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, points out that sucking on a pacifier can help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, as well as providing comfort to a baby.

However, if a child does not stop using a pacifier by the age of 2, a parent may want to try to wean them from the habit, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

"Prolonged pacifier use and thumb-sucking can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth, alignment of the teeth and changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth," AGD spokesperson Dr Luke Matranga said.

In contrast, any alignment problems that occur before the child is 2 are typically corrected after they stop using a pacifier.

The American Dental Association has also warned against putting your baby to sleep with a bottle containing anything but water, to help prevent dental health problems such as tooth decay.

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