- Written by Queen Munguti for KenyaKidz
Despite the side effects associated with pacifiers such as the misalignment of the upper and lower jaws, they have been found to also have positive effects to babies.
"Contrary to popular belief, there are some positive effects that result from sucking on pacifiers for instance they assist in reducing the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)," said Jane Soxman, DDS, author of the study and Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.
“Babies who are offered a pacifier do not sleep as deeply as those who sleep without a pacifier. It makes it possible for the infant to be aroused from a deep sleep that could result in the stopping of breathing. Another positive is that it increases sucking satisfaction and provide a source of comfort to infants."
Indeed, to babies, sucking is a normal behaviour from the time they are born. When they stop breastfeeding, they still have an urge to continue with the habit because it calms and quietens them. Thus pacifiers are a convenient substitute.
However, parents should be aware of the negative effects of pacifier sucking on an infant's oral health. Children should stop using pacifiers by age two," said Luke Matranga, the spokesperson of Academy of General Dentistry, DDS, MAGD, ABGD.
"Up until the age of two, any alignment problem with the teeth or the developing bone is usually corrected within a six-month period after pacifier use is stopped, if not it becomes a long term problem.”