Does dummy sucking cause problems? - ABC Dentistry
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Does dummy sucking cause problems?

The suckling reflex is a natural instinct of infants. When very young sucking a dummy or pacifier may help to comfort your baby. It is thought that this relief may outweigh any negative factors in infants.If you would like your baby to have a dummy then select those with an oval shaped teat and a large flange that sits outside of the mouth. It is thought that this type of dummy is probably best for dental development.

If your baby continues with the dummy as a toddler (after 12 months of age) there are many changes that may be noted by the dentist. This is due to the force of the cheeks on the top jaw or rather the jaws “growing around” the dummy. The most common changes are:

  • Narrowing of the top jaw often causing a posterior cross bite
  • Increase in over jet or a more bucky appearance to the top teeth
  • Anterior open bite or failure of development in the front part of the upper jaw due to the presence of the dummy

To allow your child to grow without the influence of the dummy on the growth of the jaws, it is best to stop the habit as early as possible. One good way is to have the “dummy fairy” come and take the dummy away for the new babies, leaving a present. Try to have a time set (eg 1st birthday) when the dummy will be removed totally. There is usually only 1-2 nights of disrupted sleep before your child adapts to the change. In a very small percentage of cases your child may start finger or thumb sucking after the dummy is removed. It is not possible to predict for this. If this occurs then it is managed separately.

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