How and when do I stop my child from using a pacifier?

My baby girl Alina with hers

When should my child stop using a pacifier?

Around the age of 2-3, which is usually how long teething will last.  By this age it is no longer a developmental need and is really just a habit.  Waiting much past this age only makes it more difficult and traumatic for your child to quit.  The negative impacts of a pacifier past the age of 2 include:

  • Improper growth of the mouth
  • Increased risk of ear infection
  • Misalignment of teeth
  • Open bite
  • Harmful to speech development

Advice for weaning a child off the pacifier

  • Limit the use gradually
  • Pierce the nipple of the pacifier
  • Dip it in vinegar
  • Offer distractions like music, games, or toys
  • Tell your child that the “pacifier fairy” comes to take it after they turn 2
  • Let your child “give the pacifier away” to another baby, or allow him/her to throw them in the trash themselves.
  • Do not belittle them for still using it.  Use positive reinforcement.
  • ASK your dentist/orthodontist for help if you need it.  We have many more ideas!
Bryan Bauer, DDS, FAGD
Wheaton General and Cosmetic Dentists

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