Tag Archives: Oral Health

Why You Should Visit the Dentist Every Six Months

Not many people like sitting in the dentist’s chair, but scheduling biannual appointments with your dentist guarantees your teeth will stay in healthy condition. Although the American Dental Association recommends you visit your dentist once a year, you should plan on seeing yours twice a year to prevent oral problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

Learn more about the importance of dental check-ups.

Prevent Gum Disease

Do you notice a bit of blood in your sink after brushing your teeth? This is one of the first symptoms of gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It’s usually the result of inadequate brushing and flossing habits, which leads to plaque build-up.

The mild variety is called gingivitis, which means only your gums are infected. If left untreated, it can travel below your gum line and into your bone; this may result in late-stage gum disease known as periodontitis. Both variations may increase your risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, pneumonia, heart disease, and cancer.

Your dentist can detect the first signs of gum disease before it becomes a severe health concern. Moreover, they will suggest ways to prevent it, which include scheduling a biannual cleaning with a dental hygienist and teaching you how to floss and brush your teeth properly.

Save Money in the Long Run

Treating oral-related problems early can help you save money in the future. Although it may sound like visiting your dentist twice a year is expensive, routine maintenance reduces the chances of you developing problems that require costly dental work, such as a tooth extraction.

Remember, a root canal is more expensive and time-consuming than a basic filling. Treating gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer can be costly, but by visiting your dentist a few times a year, you probably won’t develop these problems in the first place.

Show off Your Smile

Keeping your teeth clean and healthy by visiting your dentist will motivate you to smile more. Most people who don’t pay a visit to their dentist develop stained teeth, which can make them feel self-conscious. Stains are usually the result of smoking or drinking too much coffee, tea, or red wine.

Fortunately, tooth stains aren’t harmful; however, they’re preventable. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year will treat minor surface stains before they become permanent.

What to Expect During Your Visit

If you haven’t visited your dentist in years, you’ve probably forgotten the process. Don’t worry, checkups are easy-going and are broken into two parts, which are an examination and a deep cleaning. They will look for cavities and take X-rays. Additionally, they will examine your tongue, throat, face, head, and neck.
During your cleaning, your dentist will scale your teeth, which is when they use small tools to remove tartar.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Once you ease into the routine of visiting your dentist twice a year, they may recommend you to an oral surgeon if you require a procedure, such as wisdom teeth extraction. The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can give you a smile you deserve. Schedule your consultation today.

What Your Tongue Is Trying To Tell You

Have you ever inspected your tongue? Believe it or not, your tongue’s appearance says a lot about your health. For example, a black tongue can signal poor oral hygiene, and it’s also one of the first symptoms of diabetes.

Start paying attention to your tongue’s health, and don’t ignore any irregularities. Continue reading to learn more about the correlation between your tongue and physical well-being. 

Understanding Your Tongue’s Anatomy

It’s easy to downplay your tongue’s role because most people only pay attention to their teeth when it comes to oral health. However, your tongue is a muscular organ that deserves as much attention and care as the rest of your body. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to chew, swallow food, or talk. 

Covered in moist, pink tissue called mucosa, your tongue has papillae, tiny bumps that give your tongue its rough texture. Taste buds are a collection of nerve-like cells that connect to nerves running into your brain. Thousands of them cover the surfaces of your papillae. 

A tongue is anchored to the mouth by webs of tough tissue and mucosa. The tether holding down the front of the tongue is called the frenum. Tongues are attached to the hyoid bone in the back of the mouth. 

The four familiar tastes are sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. Your tongue has thousands of nerves that detect and transmit taste signals to your brain. Additionally, there’s a fifth taste called umami, which you can experience by tasting glutamate.

White Patches on Your Tongue

If you notice white patches on your tongue, don’t worry just yet. Most of the time, white patches aren’t an indicator of poor oral health. However, sometimes they’re linked to an overgrowth of yeast in your mouth. 

Brush your teeth twice a day and pay extra attention to your tongue for the next two weeks; brush it for 30 seconds. If the patches are still there, you likely have an oral yeast infection. 

Fortunately, you can cure this condition at home by brushing your teeth every day and using an antifungal mouth rinse. 

Black Hairy Tongue

Black hairy tongue is a condition that can stem from an oral yeast infection, diabetes, cancer therapies, or poor oral hygiene. Usually, a tongue becomes black and hairy due to a buildup of dead skin cells on the papillae. 

You don’t need medical care for this condition; all you have to do is practice oral hygiene and brush your tongue with a tongue scraper. 

Dark Red Tongue

Your tongue usually turns red when you have a sore throat. However, if it’s strawberry red and you have a headache, you might have scarlet fever; it’s time to take a trip to your doctor’s office. A red, swollen tongue can also be a symptom of vitamin deficiency. Take your vitamins and brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If your tongue’s irregularities persist, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist might recommend you to an oral surgeon if they detect you have an underlying condition that needs advanced treatment. The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are experts in all fields of oral care. Schedule your consultation today. 

   

Everything You Should Know About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that won’t go away, and approximately fifty-three thousand Americans are diagnosed with it every year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Mouth cancer refers to cancer that develops in any part of the mouth, such as the lips, gums, tongue, inner lining of the cheeks, and the roof or floor of the mouth. This condition can be life-threatening if it’s not diagnosed early. Continue reading to learn more about oral cancer

Understanding Oral Cancer

One person dies from oral cancer each hour, resulting in over nine thousand oral cancer-related deaths each year. Of the fifty-three thousand Americans diagnosed with it, only an estimated fifty-seven percent of them will be alive in the next five years. If you expand the definition of oral cancer to include larynx cancer, the numbers of diagnosed cases increase to fifty-four thousand individuals, and over thirteen-thousand deaths per year in the U.S. alone. 

Some countries don’t track cases of oral cancer, so the above figures are bound to increase when you consider unreported cases. The mortality rate of people who live with it is higher than that of cancers that are more talked about, such as cervical or breast cancer. Historically, the death rate of this cancer is alarmingly high because it’s usually discovered late in its development. Even with today’s technology, there’s no comprehensive program in the U.S. to screen for it during its early stages; this is why late-stage oral cancer is prevalent. 

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Here are the most common symptoms of oral cancer:

  • Swellings, lumps, rough spots, and crusts forming on the lips, gums, or other areas of the mouth 
  • Development of velvety white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth 
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Numbness or pain in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and don’t heal within two weeks
  • Difficulty chewing, speaking or swallowing
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
  • Feeling like something is caught in the back of your throat
  • Sharp ear pain
  • Change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
  • Dramatic weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your dentist or orthodontist immediately. 

Risk Factors Associated with Oral Cancer

Men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer compared to women, according to the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately, men who are over age fifty are the demographic who are most at risk. Other risk factors include:

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Oral cancer is six times more common in people who drink. 
  • Family history of cancer
  • Excessive exposure to the sun, especially at a young age. 
  • Cigarette, cigar, and pipe smokers

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you suspect you may have oral cancer, consult with your dentist immediately. Your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon for a definitive diagnosis. Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah, and our board-certified surgeons will help you. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Schedule an assessment today. 

Does Acid Really Damage Teeth?

Sugar isn’t the only substance that causes tooth decay, as high levels of acid found in foods and drinks is just as harmful. Acidic foods and beverages, such as oranges and wine, can wear down your teeth by causing decay, sensitivity, and discoloration.

Although acidic foods harm your teeth, this doesn’t mean you should stop enjoying all foods and beverages that are high in acidity. There are specific methods you can use to eat and drink acidic foods and drinks without experiencing all the issues associated with high levels of acid.

Continue reading to find out how you can protect your teeth from acid-related damage. 

Understanding Tooth Erosion

Tooth erosion is when the enamel, which is the protective surface of your teeth, wears away. Erosion exposes your teeth’s underlying material, which is called dentin. Exposed dentin is susceptible to plaque and bacteria build-up, which can lead to tooth decay. Unfortunately, dental erosion is irreversible and usually caused by an excessive amount of acids in your mouth. The American Dental Association reports that more than one-third of children and adults worldwide experience tooth erosion. Erosion caused by your diet usually appears as a hollowed-out area on the surface of a tooth. Experiencing tooth erosion is always painful and uncomfortable, and the pain and discomfort will only worsen over time. It’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist as soon as you notice the first signs of erosion. 

Causes of Tooth Erosion

Calcium is a critical factor in building resilient teeth since calcium is stored in either your bones or teeth. Acid is calcium’s worst enemy, and exposing your teeth to high levels of acid can destroy the calcium in your teeth’s enamel. Acid comes from several sources, which include the following:

  • Fruit juice: Lemon, cranberry, apple, and orange juice are the most acidic juice options.
  • Wine: Drinking white wine or red wine often will soften your enamel. 
  • Candy: All sugary treats are bad for your teeth, but you should especially avoid eating too many sour gummies and candies. 
  • Citric fruits: Snacking on oranges, lemons, and limes daily will wear down your teeth. 
  • Stomach acid: Excessive vomiting and acid reflux can cause severe tooth damage when stomach acid washes over your teeth. 
  • Sugar: Although sugar itself doesn’t contain high levels of acid, it promotes the growth of acid-creating bacteria in your mouth. 

Preventing Tooth Erosion 

Follow these tips to reduce the impacts of acid on your teeth: 

  • Wash acid down with water: Drink water alongside acidic foods and beverages to wash it out of your mouth. 
  • Eat with meals: Save acidic foods for mealtime instead of snacking on them throughout the day. Munching on acidic snacks during lunch or dinner rather than eating them all at once will reduce the acid’s contact with your teeth.
  • Use straws: If you drink acidic beverages daily, you can reduce the acid’s contact with your teeth by using a straw. Don’t swish acidic drinks, such as soda or orange juice, because this will coat your teeth in acid. 

Prevent tooth erosion by taking care of your teeth and drinking more water. If you’re experiencing tooth erosion, you’ll need to consult with a professional to see what treatment options are available to you. Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah to schedule your consultation with board-certified orthodontists. 

Having a Dry Socket? Five Tips To Heal Quickly

Undergoing surgery to have your wisdom teeth removed isn’t the most exciting experience, but it’s worse when you end up with a dry socket. Also known as alveolar osteitis, a dry socket is a painful dental condition that can occur after you have an adult tooth extracted. This condition arises when a blood clot at the site of the tooth extraction fails to develop. Typically, blood clots form at the site of tooth extraction to serve as a protective layer over the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. Blood clots also promote the development of soft tissue over the clot. 

Unfortunately, some patients who experience post-extraction complications may not know about dry socket. Even if a patient is aware that they’ve developed dry socket, they may not know how to heal it. The following guide is designed to help you understand and treat this unpleasant condition. 

What Causes Dry Socket?

The following are the most common risk factors that will increase your likelihood of experiencing dry socket: 

  • Smoking after tooth extraction
  • Taking birth control after surgery, as estrogen may cause the blood clot to dissolve
  • Tissue trauma as a result of extraction
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Underlying gum disease

After your tooth extraction surgery, your dentist will advise you against the following:

  • Exercise
  • Swishing water
  • Drinking any carbonated beverages (soda, beer, sparkling water, etc.)
  • Using a straw

Dentists believe you should avoid the activities listed above because the pressure from swishing liquids, sucking from a straw, and even spitting can abruptly dislodge your clot. Strenuous exercises will raise your blood pressure and make it difficult for the clot to stay still. 

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Socket?

The main differentiator between tooth extraction pain and dry socket pain is timing. You should experience post-surgery pain one day after your surgery should, but dry socket pain usually peaks 3-5 days after the extraction. Moreover, dry socket pain is a sharp, severe pain that will radiate into your ears and the rest of your jaw. Other dry socket symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fever, and insomnia. 

How Can I Heal My Dry Socket? 

For starters, you can reduce your dry socket pain by taking over-the-counter pain relievers. The following five tips will help you treat your dry socket, at least until you can visit your dentist. 

  1. Swish with warm water: Gently swishing with warm water can help cleanse the extraction site and reduce bacteria.
  2. Use honey: Coat your dry socket with honey to help reduce inflammation.
  3. Create a cold compress: Press a cold towel against your cheeks to soothe the pain. 
  4. Drink tea: Drink anti-inflammatory tea to reduce inflammation throughout your body. 
  5. Apply essential oils: Rub a small amount of essential oil, such as tea tree oil, over your dry socket. Only use essential oils when your pain is at its worst because consistently using oils inside your mouth will kill good bacteria. 

Remember, these tips are designed to keep pain at bay temporarily, and not meant to replace a dentist appointment. If your dry socket pain persists after one week, you must visit your dentist.

If you plan on undergoing oral surgery, you’ll need to turn to an experienced orthodontist to reduce your likelihood of having a dry socket.

The orthodontists at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are board-certified surgeons who will provide you with the best oral surgery treatment available.

Schedule your consultation with our surgeons today. 

   

My Wisdom Teeth Aren’t Causing Me Any Problems, Can I Keep Them?

If you ask some people, they’d say they’re against wisdom tooth removal if they don’t cause any problems; however, other people believe wisdom teeth will inevitably cause problems down the line, so should be removed. Ultimately, wisdom tooth removal is a personal choice. 

The topic of wisdom teeth removal is a hot button topic among dentists and orthodontists because there are still many unanswered questions about wisdom teeth. Some dentists recommend their patients remove their wisdom teeth no matter what—even if they’re innocuous and aren’t causing issues. Other dentists will only send you off to an orthodontist if they notice that your wisdom teeth are causing problems or are highly likely to cause problems. So, should you keep your wisdom teeth? Keep on reading to decide if surgery is right for you.

Understanding Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth can grow anytime, even well into adulthood. Oddly enough, some people never deal with wisdom teeth because not everyone is born with a full set of teeth. Wisdom teeth are the most commonly missing teeth in kids and adults. Your first telltale sign of erupting wisdom teeth is you feel pain in your upper or lower jaw. Another common symptom of wisdom teeth growth is a sharp sensation of pressure in the back of your mouth. Additionally, the gum tissue that surrounds your wisdom teeth will become swollen and inflamed. 

Some lucky people won’t experience any pain at all; however, the absence of pain doesn’t mean there aren’t any underlying problems. 

Pros of Wisdom Teeth Removal

The benefits of wisdom tooth extraction outweigh the potential adverse side effects. Individuals who choose to have their wisdom teeth removed do it to prevent complications in the future, such as impacted wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth occur when there’s not enough room for your wisdom teeth to develop properly, which can lead to a host of problems. For starters, having impacted wisdom teeth means buried teeth in either your soft tissue or jawbone. Having hidden wisdom teeth means you won’t be able to clean your wisdom teeth properly, which can lead to tooth decay. Additionally, buried wisdom teeth usually lead to gum disease. Worst of all, having impacted wisdom teeth puts you at risk of cysts and tumors that can develop around impacted teeth.

If X-rays show fully-impacted wisdom teeth, a dentist will recommend wisdom tooth extraction to prevent future problems. 

Cons of Wisdom Teeth Removal

Dentists evaluate impacted teeth on a case-by-case basis, so if you have wisdom teeth, then you may not even need surgery. As with other operations, wisdom tooth extraction can lead to complications. While mild pain is normal after an extraction, you might experience a bacterial infection or dry socket. Bacterial infections can occur two weeks or even two months after wisdom teeth removal. You might develop a dry socket within the next few days after surgery, which is a painful dental condition that occurs when a blood clot at the site of the tooth extraction fails to develop. The socket can also become inflamed if too much food debris collects, leading to even more pain. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you should go through with wisdom tooth extraction. If you’ve decided that surgery is right for you, contact the Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah. Schedule your consultation today. 

   

10 Facts About TMJ

1. Pain around your ear can be a sign of TMJ.

Most people associated Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain with jaw pain—which is a common symptom, but other pain can also be an indicator. TMJ can also cause pain in and around the ears and head. It can cause ringing in the ears and even hearing loss. 

2. It can make it difficult to open your mouth. 

TMJ can cause your jaw to lock. The hinge that allows you to open and close your jaw can be clench. This can be very painful. If this occurs, see a doctor. 

3. It can be caused by arthritis.

TMJ disorder is a form of arthritis. It could be caused by infectious arthritis, traumatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, or other types. 

4. A clicking jaw is a common sign.

A jaw popping or clicking when it is opened or closed is a common sign of TMJ. The joints that connect your jawbone to your skull can cease to work correctly, leading to popping and clicking. This sensation is often accompanied by pain. 

5. A jaw injury or misaligned teeth can lead to TMJ.

If an injury causes your jaw to misalign, it can turn into TMJ pain. The same goes for misaligned teeth—crooked teeth can cause your teeth and, therefore, your jaw to become misaligned, leading to TMJ pain. 

6. It can make your teeth sensitive. 

TMJ can change your bite, which may cause your teeth to be more sensitive to hot and cold. If you are noticing an increased sensitivity but no other dental issues or symptoms, it could be due to TMJ. 

7. TMJ is short for temporomandibular disorder.

Though it is usually referred to as TMJ, the scientific name for the disorder is temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The temporomandibular is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull, and when there is an issue with it—that can lead to TMJ pain. 

8. It can be treated. 

There isn’t necessarily a cure for TMJ pain, but there are plenty of treatments. Not all TMJ pain is created equally, and the same goes for treatments. Whether you need to change certain habits, go through some physical therapy, get some help with medication, or possibly have surgery will depend on your case of TMJ. 

9. Nail-biting has been linked to TMJ.

Biting your nails is a bad habit for many reasons, including TMJ pain. Because nail biting is a repetitive movement, consistently doing it over time can lead to TMJ issues. It is also a very painful habit to have when you are dealing with TMJ pain. 

10. TMJ is an umbrella term. 

TMJ is a term used for jaw, head, and ear pain that may be caused by multiple sources. Some instances of TMJ may be very different than others. 

If you are experiencing TMJ pain, see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah for relief.

Water Flossing Versus Flossing

Recently, water flossing has become more and more popular. Whether you get a Waterpik machine, a specialty toothbrush with water flossing capabilities, or some other form, water flossing is becoming much more accessible. So, what is it? Is it good for you? Should it replace your traditional flossing with string floss? We’ve got some answers for you. 

Water Flossing

Water flossing, also known as water picking, has many advantages. Water picking is an easy to use a machine that uses a high-pressure stream of water to remove food particles and plaque from teeth. This action can massage gums, improving gum health, and reach areas that traditional floss may not reach. The pressure of the water can push food particles away from the teeth and clean them at the same time. 

Water picking does require a water picking device, which can be expensive. Using a water pick is fairly simple. Fill the water reservoir and adjust the pressure. While leaning over a sink, use the tip of the water pick to shoot water in between teeth and along the gumline. Start with the back teeth and move forward. When finished, eject tip and clean the device.  

Traditional Flossing 

Dentists have preached traditional flossing for decades—and for a good reason. It’s an extremely effective method of removing food particles and plaque from teeth. Flossing is a cheap and easily accessible method of oral care. It can be done anywhere with little effort. 

Flossing daily has long been a practice of those with good oral hygiene. When flossing is not part of your daily routine, you become vulnerable to gum disease. If gum disease does occur, the gums will swell and bleed when you floss. Even so, flossing is still relevant.  Flossing less can lead to more gum sensitivity. 

Water Flossing vs. Traditional Flossing

Though both of these techniques can be beneficial to your oral health, water flossing should not replace traditional flossing. Water flossing is an excellent addition to your oral hygiene routine, but it is no substitute for flossing. 

According to a study done in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, those who used both traditional string floss and water flossing saw a 74.4% reduction in plaque. In comparison, those who just used string floss had a 57.7% reduction in plaque. 

Using both water flossing and traditional flossing can combat plaque and keep your teeth healthy longer. Reduce chances of gum disease and tooth decay with multiple flossing techniques. 

For the best oral health brush twice daily, floss with string floss daily, floss with a water pick where possible and visit the dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups. Work fluoride in your routine where possible for the best results.

What is Orofacial Pain?

Orofacial pain can manifest itself in many ways, but essentially this can encompass pain in the head and neck region. The symptoms of orofacial pain could include dizziness, tingling in the head and neck, abnormal itching, muscular incoordination, ringing in the ears, or other aches and sensations in the neck and head. It includes headaches, facial burning, and pain in the neck, ears, jaw, or mouth. 

What are the Causes of Orofacial Pain?

This kind of pain can be a result of another primary issue. Most often, orofacial pain is due to a dental issue, but many problems can lead to this kind of pain. It may be due to:

  • TMJ or TMD—aka temporomandibular joint dysfunction. This disorder causes pain jaw joint and the muscles around the jaw. It can lead to difficulty chewing and cause a clicking or locking in the jaw. 
  • Sleeping Disorders—poor sleep quality can lead to orofacial pain. Many different kinds of sleep disorders can cause other issues. 
  • Cervicalgia—neck pain that can also lead to pain in the mouth and face. 
  • Malignancy—malignancy is a malignant tumor or cancer. As a result of this tumor, you may experience pain in the neck and head. 
  • Orofacial Dyskinesia—a condition of the nervous system that causes involuntary repetitive movements in the face and mouth. 
  • Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain Disorder—pain caused by an injured nerve that sends impulses to the brain. It can be dull or boring pain. 
  • Other Trauma—any trauma to the head or neck region can lead to orofacial pain. 
  • Muscular Disorders—can be an aching or dull pain manifested through a muscle injury or strain—also known as myalgia. 

Diagnosis and Treatment 

So much of orofacial pain ins due to an oral health issue—because of this it can be diagnosed by a dentist or oral surgeon. It may be diagnosed by pain in the tooth, soft or hard tissue, or in the face and jaw. It can also be diagnosed due to hot and cold sensitivity, and sensitivity to pressure and chewing. To diagnose orofacial pain, there is usually a physical exam. It can be shown through discoloration, swelling, bleeding, sores, visible trauma, and lacerations. 

Treatment will differ based on the cause of orofacial pain. Treating pain due to TMJ will look different than treating pain due to oral trauma or a broken tooth. Most treatments will include some pain killers and often some oral surgery.

For the best oral surgery experience, come see us at Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah.  Our experienced team will ensure your safety and comfort as they work to help you heal. 

The Effects of Pacifiers on Your Child’s Oral Health

Is there reason to be concerned about pacifiers? It’s true that they can impact the oral health of your child—both negatively and positively. It all depends on how and when your baby is using their pacifier. In some situations, pacifiers can impact the dental development of your baby—this is commonly referred to as pacifier teeth. 

Are pacifiers bad for your baby?

Pacifiers are not necessarily bad for your baby if they are weaned off of them before the age of two. After that, teeth start to develop, and oral health can be impacted. As the jaw develops, if there is consistently a pacifier, a thumb, or other obstruct in it, the jaw will develop around it. This can lead to an overbite, underbite, misaligned teeth, changes in the roof of the mouth, or other issues. In short, if a baby used a pacifier long term, it can impact the shape of their mouth and the alignment of their teeth. Sucking a thumb can have a similar effect. 

Pacifiers can also lead to other issues. Babies who are six months or older and still using a pacifier are at higher risk for ear infections—introducing a baby to a pacifier before one month can create problems with breastfeeding. 

Benefits of a Pacifier

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, there can be many benefits to a baby using a pacifier between the ages of one month and six months. It’s natural for a baby to enjoy sucking—it can be very soothing for them. Giving them a pacifier can prevent them from using their thumb. Though there is no real harm in thumb sucking, it is much more difficult to wean off of. You can take away a pacifier, but you can’t take away a thumb. It’s also easier to keep a pacifier clean and germ-free. 

According to a study done by the American Academy of Family Physicians, pacifiers can reduce a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS.)  

Weaning the Pacifier 

It seems that the key to using a pacifier is to wean off of it before it can cause damage. There are many methods for helping your baby break the pacifier habit. Praises and rewards when they don’t use the pacifier can be helpful. Giving them a little extra help or comfort when they usually use their pacifier is also a good idea. It’s crucial to avoid punishments or scolding regarding the pacifier; this can lead to other issues and has proven to be ineffective. 

No matter your baby’s pacifier habits, be sure that you are caring for your little one’s teeth.  Keep them clean by brushing them twice daily with toothpaste formulated for infants or babies. Reduce their risk of pacifier teeth and other oral issues and start good oral hygiene early on.