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Bye-Bye Binky!

Jun 22, 2018

We’ve touched on pacifiers before in the blog (here), but since it is a frequent topic of discussion in the office, our associate Dr. Marisa thought she would share some words of wisdom!

The sucking reflex is natural and normal, beginning with breastfeeding or bottle feeding in early infancy.    The pacifier (or ‘binky’) often serves as an additional soothing mechanism for a baby.  For many young children, the pacifier quickly becomes a significant attachment until they are ready to let go.

‘Ready to let go’ is the key phrase here!  For some toddlers, giving up the pacifier can be very difficult.  (And, let’s face it–maybe for parents, too. Your babies are growing up!) Keep in mind that the pacifier habit affects each child to a different extent, often dependent on the cumulative time of use per day.  We recommending scheduling your first dental visit around age 1, so we can monitor habits like this and help you wean off when the time is right.  The pacifier may look innocent—but did you know it has potential to morph the shape of the mouth? The pacifier can push the top front teeth up and out, often causing backward tilting of the bottom front teeth, too.

In general, it is recommended that your child begin to wean off the pacifier before age 2.  Talking to your child should be the first step and is often the most effective.  In fact, some children will wean off naturally as they reach ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ status.  Others may need more help.

At the end of the day, it’s a teamwork approach! And we’re here to be a part of that.  To give you a head start, below are some ideas to kick the pacifier habit:

  • Snip the tip! Snipping the tip gets rid of the suction effect, and your child will be less interested in having it around.
  • Lock them in a Build-a-Bear. Now the binkies are held safe inside a cute, cuddly stuffed animal that your child can take to bed!
  • Send them to the Binky Fairy. She may ‘mail’ something in return!
  • Swap the binkies for a new toy that your child has been wanting.
  • Avoid ‘gifting the binkies’ to the newest baby in the household—remember if the binkies are still around, they are still up for grabs.

Talk to us about your child’s pacifier habit next time you’re in for a visit!

© 2014 Dr. Jennifer Fountain, DDS.
All rights reserved.