Does the pacifier deform the palate?

The pacifier problem is common to many parents. There is no age at which it is best to take it off, but once the decision is made, there is no turning back.

Question: I am the mother of Francesco, a 20 month old baby. My son keeps the pacifier in his mouth for about 2/3 of the day. This gave him a hole in the upper inner part of the palate.

What can I do while avoiding trauma so as not to damage his teeth?

Answer: I presume that the hole the lady alludes to is a somewhat excessive way of seeing an ogival palate and not a cleft palate (fissuring of the palate), which would otherwise have been diagnosed.

The pacifier problem is a question that divides orthodontists from infantile neuropsychiatrists, as the former are concerned with the correct growth of the jaws and the latter tend to avoid psychic trauma to the child.

First of all, the pacifier should be anatomical to do less damage and, second, it must be given to the baby at increasingly longer intervals and must be removed when the baby is asleep (if and when possible). If the child uses the pacifier only to fall asleep and at some other time of the day, it can be removed.

But be careful: parents must be strict in this position; if they take pity on the child’s inevitable screams and give it back to him, everything becomes more complicated because the child remembers that it is his right.

I always recommend doing it after a day of running in the countryside, when the little one is tired, and, saying that he has lost him, distract him as much as possible with gestures of affection or play.

Also pay attention to the finger. Often the little one without a pacifier finds that he always has one available: the thumb. This in my opinion does more damage than the anatomical pacifier.

In summary, it is the pediatrician’s and parents’ task to understand when to remove the pacifier, it is essential not to go back to this decision even if you realize you have done it too soon. In my opinion, 20 months are still few. It all depends on the maturation of the child, but if we have to put limits I would say that between two and four years the child must stop any sucking habit (thumb, pacifier, blanket, knuckles of the fingers, etc.).

The alveolar and palatal deformation that can derive from it can instead be corrected from five and a half years with orthodontic appliances, simply by interrupting the vice and preventing the tongue from entering the gap (space) that generally forms between the two arches.

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