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Safe Use of Pacifiers

CHICAGO, Illinois – If your child has a sucking habit, please alert your pediatric dentist. With the sucking habit in mind, your pediatric dentist will carefully monitor the way your child's teeth come in and jaws develop. For most children there is no reason to worry about a sucking habit until the permanent teeth are ready to come in. Thumb, finger, and pacifier sucking all affect the teeth essentially the same way. However, a pacifier habit is often easier to break.
  • Children should be encouraged to chew and bite as soon as possible — even before the first tooth comes into the mouth. If your child uses a pacifier, don't be concerned, but please take precautions to ensure your child's safety.

  • Never tie a pacifier around a baby's neck. Between 1985 and 1990, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission received reports of 21 strangulation deaths that involved pacifiers tied around a child's neck.

  • Select a pacifier with sturdy, one-piece construction, made of non-toxic, flexible material, with an easily grasped handle.

  • The pacifier should be too large to swallow, have a shield or mouth guard that can't be separated from the nipple, and two ventilation holes.

  • To ensure that a piece of the nipple can't break off in the baby's mouth, the nipple should be intact without holes or tears. Parents should pull on the nipple to test it, and replace the pacifier when the nipple shows signs of wear.

SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

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