Do pacifiers mess up teeth or delay speech?
They can, but only if they’re kept in children’s mouths for several hours a day after they turn 2 years old.
Many studies and analyses have found that regularly keeping a pacifier in a child’s mouth past the age of two can negatively affect the way their jaw and teeth develop. There’s also some evidence that pacifiers could interfere with the way children learn how to speak, especially after the age of 3.
Why do so many other sources make pacifiers sound so horrible?
Likely because people are sensationalizing and oversimplifying the science.
The severity of these issues is related to the amount of time a child has a pacifier in their mouth and how intensely they suck on it. To reduce potential risks, as children get older, pediatricians recommend limiting pacifier use to when children are falling asleep and then removing pacifiers when they fall asleep.
Why should I trust you?
In doing thorough research on this topic, we found these to be the most useful and factual sources. We recommend reading them if you’d like more in-depth information:
“A Comprehensive Review of Evidence and Current Recommendations Related to Pacifier Usage” in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing.
“Sensorimotor influences on speech perception in infancy” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
“Effects of pacifiers on early oral development,” in the International Journal of Orthodontics.
- “Changes in the prevalence of nonnutritive sucking patterns in the first 8 years of life,” in the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics