Pacifiers and baby bottles are essential items throughout the first couple years of a child's life, but is it possible for the habits they develop to spiral out of control? While pediatric dentists understand the importance of both, they have a few warnings about the long-term effects they can have on your baby's teeth. That doesn't mean you should take them away immediately, but you should take a moment to explore the ways pacifiers and bottles will eventually impact the shape and health of teeth.
Potential Problems With Pacifiers & Bottles
Teeth & Jaw Misalignment
Long-term sucking can take a major toll on a child's tooth development. Whether it's a bottle, a pacifier, or fingers, they could crowd teeth out in awkward ways as they grow. This can lead to problems like slanted front and bottom teeth, misaligned jaws, and even the narrowing of the roof of the mouth. The longer these habits continue, the more likely orthodontic work will be needed in the future.
Childhood Tooth Decay
Tooth decay and cavities could also develop, referred to at this stage as "childhood caries." One of the leading causes stems from children using a sippy cup or bottle in place of a pacifier or continuing to breastfeed long after it's necessary. Both can increase the risk of tooth decay, which is extremely painful for children and may lead to the need for a root canal by the time the child celebrates their second birthday.
Beyond these more common causes, you shouldn’t dip your child’s pacifier in sugar water or honey. This is another easy way to raise the likelihood of tooth decay, and your pediatric dentist will agree that it's not worth the risk.
The best way to counter any of the long-term effects of sucking on pacifiers and bottles past a certain point is to nip the problem in the bud as early as possible. Trade in those habits for childhood education in good oral hygiene, and get started on regular trips to the dentist as soon as your child is ready.
For the best general and pediatric dentist in the Fort Worth, TX, area, residents choose Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics. They offer first-class service and unbeatable office amenities, so head to their website for more information, and give them a call at (817) 380-5574 to schedule an appointment today.