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The Pros and Problems of Pacifiers

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The Pros and Problems of Pacifiers

Pacifiers, also known as teethers or soothers, are small, nipple-shaped devices that are put in the mouth of the baby to soothe her. Babies are born with a natural sucking reflex, which assists them to suckle from the breast. Since the pacifier looks like a nipple, a baby can be kept calm and made to feel secure. It is this reason babies everywhere take to pacifiers with ease.

Pacifiers come in many designs. However, experts recommend a pacifier where the nipple, the handle, and mouth guard are all carved from a single piece of plastics. We at Vita Dental Spring would like to inform you about the pros and cons of using pacifiers.

The pros of pacifiers

  • Reduce SIDS

Sudden infant death syndrome is the unexpected death of healthy babies. SIDS can occur at any time, especially when the baby is sleeping. This usually happens when the baby suffocates when they are placed in the incorrect sleeping position.

Experts say that when a pacifier is used, it reduces the chances of SIDS as it assists to keep the airways open and lets the infant breath. If a baby is given a pacifier just before they sleep, it significantly reduces the risk of SIDS.

  • It could help to relieve colic

The sucking reflex help to give the baby a sense of security and it soothes him or her. Parents who have babies with colic can try a pacifier to see if it will help control the illness.

  • It is a great distraction for fussy babies

Sometimes, babies will just get fussy and start crying all night. In some cases, rocking them or trying to talk to them does not work. In such a case, a pacifier could calm them down and help them to calm down and let you get some shuteye.

  • Pain Relief

When the child is going through procedures such as lumbar puncture, immunization, or catheter insertion, it can alleviate the pain. It is not known how the pacifier works but it is thought that the sucking helps to relieve the pain. Thus, when a baby is undergoing an invasive procedure, it is recommended that they get a pacifier.

  • It helps during air travel

Parents dread the idea of having to travel with a child by air. This is because abrupt changes in air pressure during flight will make the baby’s ears pop. This sensation can make babies cry out in flight. A pacifier can help to distract them. Besides that, the sucking reflex of the mouth will help to normalize air pressure and possibly avoid the sudden pop.

  • It helps in the development of preterm babies

Premature babies usually have a poor sucking reflex because of incomplete development. Research has shown that a pacifier can help the preterm baby improve their sucking reflex. This is a vital function for them to learn how to breastfeed. Besides that, improving the sucking reflex has been shown to help premature babies improve their digestion.

The disadvantages of pacifiers

  • It can interfere with breastfeeding

When a pacifier is introduced too early, like in the first month, it might lead to nipple confusion. This is where the infant cannot tell between the pacifier and the nipple. If the newborn often uses the pacifier, he or she may not learn how to suckle in the right manner.

A study found that babies who started using a pacifier too early usually breastfed less than other babies. This interference is prevalent in full-term babies. It is not the case for preterm babies where the pacifier is utilized to exercise the sucking reflex.

  • It may affect the child’s oral and dental health

Using the pacifier for too long can affect the dental health of a baby. If a child uses a pacifier beyond four years, it could lead to misalignment of the permanent teeth. Besides that, if the baby is using a honey-dipped pacifier, he or she is at a high chance of contracting oral infections.

  • A risk of ear infections

If the pacifier is unclean or contaminated, it could transfer bacteria to the middle ear. The result is an ear disease known as otitis media. Studies have shown there is a higher recurrence of ear infections in babies who use the pacifier often.

Summary

The pacifier may have some downsides but the positives outweigh the downsides. If you decide that your child needs one, ensure that you pick a silicon-based option. To avoid any oral infections, ensure that you keep it clean by cleaning it in the dishwasher.

If it gets cracked, you must replace it. The cracks act as breeding grounds for bacteria, which lead to oral and ear infections. Besides that, you should only give your child the pacifier after he or she has learned how to suckle. However, if your child does not like it, do not force it. Lastly, do not let the child use a pacifier beyond three years. You may have to deal with serious issues of occlusion if you do.

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