Are Pacifiers Bad For Your Baby's Teeth?

Posted on: 28 September 2016

One thing that can diminish your newborn bliss is unsolicited advice from relatives, friends, and even strangers. One thing that arouses strong reactions is the presence or absence of a pacifier. The pacifier is either seen as a necessary comfort for your baby or as a teeth-ruining device. Before you decide on whether to use a pacifier or not, you need to know the facts.


Parents know that listening to a baby cry can be distressing, so giving a baby a pacifier is often an act of self-preservation. However, babies need to have a strong sucking reflex in order to get the right nutrition and also to self-soothe. If you do not give your baby a pacifier, they are likely to suck on their fingers, toes, or anything within reach. A pacifier is not inherently bad for your child.

Pacifiers can be lifesavers on flights because they help equalize the pressure in your child's ears. More importantly, pacifiers may actually reduce the risk of SIDS for your child. Giving your baby a pacifier at nap time or at night can help protect them from this horrible syndrome.


A child's reliance on a pacifier has been blamed by many for tooth problems, just as thumb-sucking has been. In truth, pacifiers in the early years have not been found to adversely affect your child's bite. Once their baby teeth begin to fall out, you do need to stop the pacifier if you have not done so already. Dentists note that excessive sucking can make your child's front teeth protrude, causing "buckteeth." In addition, the lower teeth may be pushed in, and your child's bite to be out of alignment. All of these effects can lead to some expensive orthodontic work in the future.

Some people believe that no child should rely on any particular device for comfort. That concern is more a psychological one than a physical one, and some people feel quite strongly about it. You can certainly raise a child without a pacifier if you wish. They are not necessary, but they can be helpful.

If you want your child to have a pacifier, at least for the first few years, you should not hesitate to give them one, despite what all the advice-givers might say. The same goes for not giving your child one. If your child depends too much on their pacifier and for too long, the issue becomes more complicated. If you have concerns, discuss them with your child's pediatrician and a pediatric dentist at a dental office like Dentistry For Children.