With the holidays approaching, you’ve probably been scouring the mall and outlets for the cutest gifts for your little one. Have you ever thought of giving your child the gift of better oral health?
You can do so this year with a little tough love. If your child still uses a pacifier over the age of two years old or sucks their thumb, breaking this bad habit can save their smile down the line. This may seem like a practically impossible task to accomplish—you might even enjoy the pacifier more than your little one because it gives you a moment of silence throughout the day—but it’s not worth the damage that’s associated with long-term pacifier use or thumb sucking.
Your pediatric dentist in Bergenfield is here to help you and your family get past this milestone in your child’s life: breaking a bad suckling habit.
The Relationship Between Pacifiers, Thumbs, and Teeth
The long-term use of pacifiers can influence how your little one’s smile is shaped. If there is a presence in the mouth consistently, their jaw and teeth may form around the object over time.
This can lead to the upper front teeth tipping forward or teeth becoming crooked—even leading to long-term bite problems that your child may need orthodontic treatment to correct in the future.
Avoid These Dental Problems
That moment of silence throughout the day is sweet, but is it worth thousands of dollars in dental work in the future? That’s what this bad habit may cost you!
It’s recommended that by the age of 2, your child stop using the pacifier and that you discourage thumb sucking at home. Little do many parents know, pacifiers are more for your child to cope rather than to soothe their discomfort. The bad habit can be corrected if you show them alternative ways to cope with their frustrations.
Break the Habit
One of the best ways to reinforce better behavior is with positive reinforcement. Whenever you see your child not sucking their thumb or using a pacifier, praise them excitedly. They should know that they are being openly rewarded.
If your child using these two things when they’re anxious, do your best to avoid stressful situations and offer warm cuddles as a replacement for their pacifier.
Some children need a little extra attention when frustrated and that’s totally fine. Everyone is different. Just be sure to think of your child’s oral health the next time you see them reaching for their pacifier.
About Our Office
When it comes to caring for your children’s healthcare needs, we know you want to give them the very best. That’s why we only offer the highest quality dental care services for our little patients at Smile More Kidz. Your pediatric dentist in Tappan wants parents to feel comfortable bringing their most precious members of the family to have their oral health cared for here to our office. If you would like to schedule your next child’s appointment, feel free to contact us.