19 answers

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!!

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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.

I have had good luck with restricting where a paci can be used. Only in the house - then only in the bedroom - only at bedtime - until ready to give it up completely.

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Hi Angie,

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.

1 mom found this helpful

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.

1 mom found this helpful

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.

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.

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.

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!!

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.

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!

Hey Angie,
As a dental hygienist, I can tell you that you will get mixed reviews. Some dentists will say that by 13-14 months they need to be off of it to prevent damage, others will say as long as they are off by age 2-3. I personally have seen some kids who are not thumbsuckers that have those characteristics (damage done by thumbsucking), and they had pacifiers for a long time. I know your baby loves it, but just to be safe maybe it'd be a good idea to find a replacement for it. For my daughter, we limited it gradually to only bedtime use, then we just stopped giving it to her. She had several blankets and babies to cuddle with and didn't seem to miss it. I do, however, think we were extremely lucky.
Good luck!

absolutely not. It is the very rare occurance that a pacifier or even thumb sucking causes damage to the teeth. Most damage to teeth is caused by milk or juice or sugary drinks in bed and falling. She is just fine. while I am not a paci fan either, it is her comfort and how she has been trained to sooth herself. She is still a baby to take it away or condem her for using it is cruel. She needs a new replacement item for it and it will take time. Like using both and then gradually changing pacies. Good luck. she is fine.

My dentist told me as long as they're off of the paci by 3 years old, there shouldn't be any damage. Both of my kids knew that the day we had their 3rd birthday, they could no longer have their paci. That night, they both asked for it and I reminded them that they had enjoyed their birthday and cake and now that they were 3 they were just too grown up to have a paci anymore. Both of them accepted this very well.

First of all, I am a Dental Hygienist, and have been presented with this question more times than I can count. It is totally false that a pacifier can cause an overbite IF you are using the orthodontic nipple type pacifier. If you notice on paci's, the round-type nipple has a much rounder, larger base that is between the child's teeth when sucking; whereas, the orthodontic nipples are basically flat at the base. Therefore, thumbsucking can cause a protrusion of the front teeth as well. However, most of this is caused by malformation of the palate. By sucking on something round, as in a thumb, or a non-ortho paci, you are shaping the palate (roof of the mouth) into a narrow, rounded high vault, thus causing the arch of teeth to become closer together and narrow, which results in the "buck-tooth" look. This can really be an issue later on, as most children require a palate expander that you have to crank at bedtime, and is VERY painful for the child. The orthodontic type paci's flatten into the roof of the mouth, helping to properly shape the child's palate. This is also why ortho paci's have an age guide line on the package that is very important to follow. The nipple increases in size with the age of the child, making sure that the palate is staying appropriate size and shape. That is the professional viewpoint of paci's.

Now, on to my personal viewpoint: I have a 3 year old who sucked an orthodontic paci until this past september, when we had our second baby boy. He didn't want to give it up, but we came up with the idea of the "Paci fairy". She came and collected all of his paci's (without him knowing) and left him a really great surprise in exchange. He was thrilled. Any time that he asked for his paci, we would say, the paci fairy left you your truck instead, and he was fine. It worked perfectly!!!! We were soooo excited! If you are ready to get rid of the paci, this is just an idea. But you have to make sure that the gift is really worth it to the child. Ha! Good luck, but don't stress over this! My son has beautiful teeth!

A., pacifiers most def. can cause buck teeth! My middle daughter loved her paci. she is 20 now, and her teeth are fine. I watched her teeth really close and as soon as I noticed a shift in her teeth I got rid of it.... she had just turned two. It took her about two weeks to stop asking for it.... since then a new trick I have heard of to get children off the pacifier. is to cut a small hole in the end of the nipple and cut a little more each day until there is nothing left, it really works! good luck

the dentist and the orthodontist has told my aunt that the pacifier and thumbsucking is a caused for protruding "buck" teeth. Apparently when they are doing this all the time the constant sucking motion is not good because they mouth is still soft and trying to form. as they get older and the teeth start coming in the mouth (still being soft) the thumbs and the pacifier alter that thus causing the protruding teeth. both of my cousins (one was thumbsucker and the other a pacifier baby) had to have extensive work done to correct the problems that was caused by it in the future.

some can but not if you use the pacifier called NUK it is funny shaped kind of like a cats paw some people say but is does not mess up teeth I used one on my baby girl she is 40 she took if for 26 months she was a breast baby cut her teeth on it good luck

I had several girl-friends who also asked their pediatric dentists this question and we all got the same answer ... no. Our daughter loved her passy until she was about 3 (at night and when she wasn't feeling well). Before her 3rd birthday, she tossed it in the trash herself and we were very surprised. She never wanted it again and we didn't have any tears and/or battles. There are tons of children who use one for many years and you rarely see the old "buck teeth" that once was seen in many cartoons. This is usually more of a problem for others.

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.

I have had good luck with restricting where a paci can be used. Only in the house - then only in the bedroom - only at bedtime - until ready to give it up completely.

Breaking the habit is not always easy, and there are several methods parents can use to stop it. Parents can dip the pacifier in white vinegar, making it distasteful; pierce the nipple of the pacifier with an ice pick or cut it shorter to reduce sucking satisfaction; leave it behind on a trip; or implement the “cold turkey” method.Parents should be aware of the effects of pacifier sucking on an infant’s oral health. “Children should stop using pacifiers by age two,” says Luke Matranga, DDS, MAGD, ABGD, AGD spokesperson. “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.” It can also affect their speech development. I honestly think that is why my daughter has a few speech issues, she sucked hers until she was 3 1/2. I had tried everything but nothing would work. Finally, I bought a shaker of red pepper and put in on every pacifier I could Find; It worked.

Hey A.,

Yes it can and does. By the age of 18 months the baby should have already or very soon have a 1st dental appointment to review oral formation and dental growth. And the next appt should be 6 months later at the age of 2. While you may think these are just baby teeth.. and they are.... the problem with them becoming ill formed is that they set the pathway that adult/permanent teeth will grow into... so you want to be just as careful with baby teeth.

I love pacifiers for the added benefit of decreased risks of SIDS... but by one year of age and especially 18months... they should be gone. The most important reasons are for learning to self soothe without a prop as well as destructive dental formation.

We had a hard time weaning from ours as it helped keep my little one sucking back and decreased her vomiting..she had acid reflux. Anyway we weaned at first to not having them during the day unless in the car. And then still having them at night in the bed. After about 6 weeks of that, they disappeared in the car. We started telling our little one "nu-nus are for night-night." And then we did this for about 6-8 weeks while we scoured the house to find any hidden ones, etc. At the end there was just one pacifier and upon waking we had her throw it away in the trash can. We just told her "you're a big girl let go throw your nu-nu away." And she did. Of course she asked for it at nap and bedtime and we told her "you're a big girl and you threw it away in the trash, it's gone." She fussed a little and then repeated she threw it away. We did this every time she asked and the fussing was not that bad.

Funny thing now is that at 2, she sees them and says "nu-nus are for babies." And her teeth formation seems to have stabalized.
Best Wishes,

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