March 18, 2009,
A.M. asks from Vicksburg, MS on March 16, 2009
Can Pacifier Cause "Buck" Teeth?
Can anybody help give me some advice on whether or not a pacifier can cause
damage to my niece's teeth. She's 18 months old? She is off the bottle and loves the comfort of having her paci with her at all times.
Any comments or advice will be very helpful, thanks so much!!
B.L. answers from Oklahoma City on March 17, 2009
Parents magazine had an article this month called "parenting myths" or something like that. It said pacifiers cannot cause buck teeth - unless they are still used excessively once the permanent teeth come in (age 6 yr+). Often if you remove the paci, the child will start sucking thumb or fingers if they are not ready to give it up.
T.S. answers from Oklahoma City on March 17, 2009
I don't know anything about the buck teeth part, but I would encourage the parents to go ahead and start weaning your niece off of the paci as soon as possible. In my opinion, the longer you wait to take care of these things, the more time the child has to get stubborn and set in their ways. We started breaking our daughter from her paci at about 16 months. We did the same thing that my mom did when breaking my brother and it worked well both times. We simply cut a small hole off the end of the nipple. In 4-5 days, we cut a little more. By this time the child is going to notice a difference and you tell them that the paci is broken. If need be, you keep going until it is down to a nub. At that point the child is going to be ready to throw it away. Very important to have the child throw it away so that you can come back at them with that. "Remember, it was broke and YOU threw it away."
Anyway, I know this has worked very well twice and it is what we are going to do with our son in a few months. Hope this helps.
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K. answers from Tulsa on March 16, 2009
I'm sure it has some effect, but to what severity probably is different for each kid. My daughter used hers FOREVER! her baby teeth did stick out a little ;), but her big girl teeth seem to be coming in straight & beautiful. A friend's daughter used the pacifier until she was 5. At 10 she has fine teeth, but had to have some sort of orthodontic thing that raised the roof of her mouth--I say ouch! Maybe the pacifier prevented her mouth from developing I don't know? My daughter is 6 1/2. Besides the top 2 & bottom 4 teeth she is still losing so maybe we don't know if she'll need correcting just yet. I also feel that whatever damage it might do can always be fixed with braces or whatever. I wouldn't let it worry you.
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S.S. answers from Lawton on March 17, 2009
Pacifiers like thumb sucking can potentially cause tooth problems, but not until they are older and starting to get their permanent teeth in. I would not be concerned at 18mo.
N.B. answers from Oklahoma City on March 17, 2009
In all my time working with small children I have never seen any problems with buck teeth associated with pacifiers, while I have seen some serious problems with thumb sucking. 18 months is about the time that people start weaning their kids off of the paci during play/awake hours, but having it at bed time isn't harmful. Just encourage her parents to start teaching her the appropriate times for "big girls" to have their pacifiers, it will take some time but that's normal.
L.F. answers from Lawton on March 17, 2009
The tendency to have an overbite is inherited. It can happen whether or not that child took a pacifier, but I believe the paci might make it worse if the tendency is already there. My child never took one, and if he ends up needing braces, it will be because of an inherited tendency. If you or your husband had braces, you might want to be more cautious. However, many good insurance plans cover orthodontics.
M.B. answers from New Orleans on March 17, 2009
No, my oldest son keep the paci until mid 3's. Although very embarrassing for me it caused no damage. I think only thumb sucking causes buck teeth. Our pediatrician said when he's ready to put it down he will, and one day he did. It was so bad my son would pack it in his back pack, and pull the paci out a nap time!!
B.J. answers from Oklahoma City on March 17, 2009
I think the dental hygienist answered this great, I just wanted to add to what she said on the paci fairy. My twin girls kept their paci's until they were almost 4 (it was their security lovey) and we also used the paci fairy...but we told them ahead of time and told them the paci fairy gives big girls gifts when they give up their paci's for all the new babies! They really liked this idea. My other two kids we cut the paci's and since the paci was "broken" they were ready to throw them away.
With all my kids, we cut back on paci time by only allowing them at sleep times.
T.P. answers from Tuscaloosa on March 17, 2009
I would recommend you talk to your dentist and/or hygienist next time you have your teeth cleaned. I think they can cause problems, but you may not need to worry just yet. I have known some kids who use them all the time to delay talking a little (because their mouth is always full). If it's bothering you, maybe you can start restricting it to certin times, like nap time and bedtime. You might want to wait until she's 2 though and can understand a little better. Good luck!