Sucking on a dummy can help relax and settle a baby down, but many parents may be unaware about the long term effect it can have on their child’s teeth and mouth.
In most cases, sucking on a dummy, thumb or even fingers can cause changes to their teeth and jaws. The younger a child stops the more likely their teeth and jaws will correct the growth problems naturally. If this habit continues when the adult teeth come through, there is a much higher risk of permanent changes to the growth of both the teeth and jaws.
Never put anything sweet on a dummy as this can cause severe and very rapid tooth decay.
Dummy use long term can lead to:
Incorrect positioning of teeth – upper teeth may be pushed more forward than normal, or the top and bottom front teeth do not touch. This can change the way the teeth meet when the child bites and can also affect speech development.
Mouth breathing – your child may tend to breathe through their mouth rather than their nose.
Around 12 months of age is a good time to start the process of helping your child to give up the habit of wanting the dummy. You can begin by limiting the use of the dummy, for example only giving it to your child at sleep times. Stopping dummy use suddenly is not recommended, as it can lead to other oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking.
If the habit continues past 4 years of age, please be sure to let one of our dentists know during their regular scheduled visit with us here at Mint Dental.