Are Orthodontic Pacifiers Better?

PDGF paci graphic

Parents worry that using a pacifier is bad for baby’s teeth, but they generally have no affect on a child under 2 years of age. Past age 4 however, pacifiers can cause an overbite, open bite, or crossbite – problems that affect chewing, speech, and appearance, and often require orthodontics to correct. Pacifier use in younger babies can actually have a plus side however, as they may decrease the chance of cavities by keeping baby from using the bottle or breast for non-nutritive sucking. Babies who sleep with the bottle can develop “baby-bottle cavities” in all 16 or 20 of their teeth.

So if your baby is pro-paci, which one is the best to use for teeth? You might see pacifiers labeled “orthodontic”, and these types of pacifiers have a rounded top and a flat bottom, and were designed to prevent tooth troubles later in baby’s life.

There are also the more “traditional” shaped pacifier with a rounded top, and if your baby prefers this one that is fine as well. Both types of pacifier nipples have been found to increase bite problems, like overbite, as children get older, but limiting the amount of time baby spends with the pacifier and taking the pacifier away before baby turns two years old can minimize dental damage.

When it comes to what material the pacifier is made of, both silicone and latex pacifier nipples have advantages, and the choice again usually comes down to baby’s preference. Silicone is sturdy, doesn’t retain odors, cleans up easily and is harder for baby to bite through. Silicone is not as soft on baby’s mouth, though. Latex is soft in baby’s mouth and your baby may like the way it retains scents, but latex doesn’t hold up as well to repeated cleanings and teeth can chew through it easier.

If you decide to use a paci for your little one, make sure it is at least 1.5 inches across to prevent choking. Babies can also develop rashes from the constant moisture under the pacifier shield, so look for pacifiers that have vent holes in the shield to let air get to baby’s skin and prevent these rashes from starting. Be sure the pacifier can be boiled or put in the dishwasher for cleaning.

Once it’s time to say bye bye to the binky however, there are a few different approaches to use. Click here: for some tips and tricks on banishing the binky for good.