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Health Tip: Your Child's Pacifier

It shouldn't be used once permanent teeth emerge

(HealthDay News) -- Sucking is a natural reflex for babies, and it often soothes an upset baby to suck on a pacifier. While it's safe up until the child is about 4 years of age, a pacifier shouldn't be used once his permanent teeth begin to grow.

The Children's Hospital of Wisconsin says if a child still uses a pacifier after about age four, his permanent teeth may grow improperly.

While many children voluntarily stop sucking on a pacifier, some may have a tougher time breaking the habit. And thumb sucking, which could cause similar dental problems, may be an even harder habit to break.

If your child's permanent teeth have begun emerge and he's still sucking on a pacifier or his thumb, talk with a pediatric dentist on the damage the child may be causing. Ask the dentist for suggestions on how to get your child to stop.

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