There has been much debate regarding the use of baby pacifiers, but there is evidence to show that there are both pros and cons, according to a study in the 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s.
There are some positive effects that result from sucking on pacifiers, according to Jane Soxman, DDS, author of the study and Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. “One is that they assist in reducing the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Babies who are offered a pacifier do not sleep as deeply as those who sleep without a pacifier. Pacifier sucking makes it possible for the infant to be aroused from a deep sleep that could result in the stopping of breathing. Pacifiers also increase sucking satisfaction and provide a source of comfort to infants.”
However according to AGD spokesperson Luke Matranga, DDS, MAGD, ABGD, parents should be aware of the negative effects of pacifier sucking on an infant’s oral health. Children should stop using pacifiers by age Two. Up until the age of two, any alignment problem with the teeth or the developing bone is usually corrected within a 6-month period after pacifier use is stopped. 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.