Many children start sucking their finger very early on in life, which proves that sucking is not a bad habit but a natural reflex. This happens mainly in infancy and childhood. This habit gives them a sense of security, calm and pleasure. It is another way of getting to know their environment.
In general, the use of a pacifier is a common way to meet / replace the need for finger sucking and should not be avoided until the age of 4 years. Prolonged use after the age of 4 can cause orthodontic problems or harmful habits that affect the normal development of teeth, mouth and face. An orthodontic pacifier is recommended by orthodontists as a good alternative because its use by children up to 4, is a habit that is more easily stopped than finger sucking.
5 Guidelines for selecting the right pacifier – This is how it works properly
- The size of the pacifier should be proportional to the age of the child and such that it does not fit completely in their mouth.
- Its nipple should be thin at the base and flat so that the child can close the mouth properly and rest the tongue naturally.
- The nipple should be elastic and durable to withstand the pulling and biting, especially during the period when the child starts teething.
- The pacifier should not be disassembled to avoid the risk of swallowing and choking. For the same reason, it should not be tied with laces around the child’s neck but rather should be attached to their clothes.
- The pacifier shield should be anatomically shaped and have large ventilation openings to avoid irritation around the lips.
Orthodontic pacifiers are always branded and anatomical and can be bought from pharmacies. It is advisable for parents to check they are in good condition and replace them with new ones when they wear out.
Dr. Penny Mitilineou
Χειρουργός ΟδοντίατροςDental Surgeon
Specialization in Orthodontics