Dummies are lifesavers!
Such a statement can be a subject of great debate. On one end, parents will agree that it is a great way to calm a fussy baby. Especially during travel or sleep, giving your kid a dummy can instantly make them quiet.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, dummy use is met with criticisms. It is associated with many issues, including dependence and ear infections. Not to mention, it is also linked to dental problems.
Is dummy use really that bad? In this article, we bust some myths to help you decide whether to give your child a dummy or skip it.
Debunking Myths About Dummies and Your Kid’s Dental Health
It is common for babies to develop dummy addiction. Parents, however, are often concerned about its safety and long-term effects, especially when it comes to oral health, for your peace of mind, we are demystifying some of the most common beliefs below.
1. It Is Bad for the Teeth
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about the use of a dummy. The effects of dummies on early oral development have been widely studied. It can cause various problems, including posterior crossbite, anterior open bite, and high narrow palate. Teeth overcrowding and misalignment are common issues.
Nonetheless, while it is indeed bad for the teeth, such is not always the case. The key here is proper usage. To prevent altering dentition, it is best to stop the use of a dummy by the time a kid reaches two or three years old. When evaluating the pros and cons of using a dummy, the good can outweigh the bad if it is used properly.
2. You Can Sugar-Coat a Dummy
Some parents badly want their babies to suck a dummy because of its calming effect. There has been a study about how sugar-coating a dummy reduces procedural pain in newborns. The research, however, is done only on newborns before a routine examination.
Whether it is honey, sugar water, or any other add-on, sugar coating a dummy can do more harm than good. The culprit here is sugar. It contains compounds that can erode the enamel and trigger tooth decay, so you might want to think twice.
3. It’s OK for Parents to Suck Their Kid’s Dummy
A lot of parents suck their babies’ dummies. The reason goes beyond simply being curious about how it feels in the mouth. Most times, parents do so because they think that they are cleaning the dummy.
However, when parents suck a dummy, they are increasing the risk of transmitting bacteria that can cause tooth decay. It may be surprising for some of you, but tooth decay is contagious. It can transfer through the saliva, which is why you should never use a kid’s dummy.
4. Kids Can Share Dummies
For parents who are raising several kids, it is tempting to make them use the same things, including a dummy. However, this is one thing that you should never do. Dummies are cheap, so there’s no reason why you should not get one for each kid.
Similar to why parents should never suck the dummy of their kid, sharing dummies transfers bacteria that cause tooth decay. Streptococcus mutans is the bacteria present in the saliva and lives in the mouth, which can be transferred by sharing a dummy.
5. The Five-Second Rule Applies to Dummies
From food to dummies, a lot of people believe that anything that touches the ground, or any other dirty surface, is not contaminated if it has been less than five seconds. Truth is, contamination happens in an instant, even if it has been only less than five seconds.
Nonetheless, this does not mean that you should immediately throw the dummy after it has been dropped. Also, as earlier mentioned, you cannot clean it with your mouth instead. The best thing to do is to wash it with water or use a sterilizer. As with anything else in babies, it is better to be safe than sorry.
6. All Dummies Are the Same
The options for dummies are overwhelming. A quick online search will reveal a long list of possibilities. Some parents might assume that they are all the same, and hence, you can pick any product. Nonetheless, several factors must come into play, such as the size and shape or the age-appropriateness of the dummy.
If you have a baby with a tongue-tie, you should be more careful on what to pick. Experts at Dentaly note that babies with a tongue tie have limited tongue movements. Because of this, the dummy is prone to falling off its mouth. Hence, you should choose one that is intelligently designed to stay in their mouth despite the restrictions on their tongue.
7. You Can Give a Dummy at Any Age
Since they can soothe crying and irate babies, some parents might assume that they can give a dummy at any age. This isn’t the case. It should not be given too early, especially if you are breastfeeding. At the same time, it should be taken away once kids are old enough. In most cases, it is recommended that you take it away anytime from two to three years old.
Using dummies in older babies can have long-term effects. For instance, we have earlier mentioned that it can impact dentition or the arrangement of teeth. There is a higher chance that such can happen when kids are still using a dummy when they turn three years old, which is a time when they have their full set of 20 teeth.
There have been a lot of myths about the use of dummies, with some of the most prominent being its effects on oral health. Yes, it has its dangers, but this does not mean that you should not give your child a dummy. At the end of the day, it can deliver more benefits than drawbacks, but such is the case only with its proper use, including stopping at the right age.
Chelsea Smith is a content creator who writes about a variety of topics, especially around dental health. She has been promoting proper dental care through her work, and urges everyone to visit their dentists regularly.
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