Pacifiers are generally most helpful for babies that are six months old or younger; however, some parents choose to use pacifiers past this age, up to one year . When looking for the best pacifier for your infant, what should you be looking for? Here are some of the top dentist recommended pacifiers for your baby, as well as a few things to look for when doing your pacifier shopping.
Many plastic pacifiers contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that helps harden plastic. BPA has been linked to harm in infants, including problems with behavioral development, hyperactivity, the nervous system, and breast and prostate development .
Choosing a BPA-free pacifier may help protect your baby and reduce risk of harm from chemicals used in plastic. If you choose a plastic pacifier, look for a BPA-free one. You can also choose a silicone or natural rubber pacifier.
Some pacifiers are made in several pieces. However, there is the potential for bacteria and dirt to accumulate at the joints where the pieces connect . This construction can make it difficult to keep the pacifier clean.
As such, consider pacifiers that are one-piece, meaning the entire unit is one piece and does not have any joints or connected parts where debris can accumulate. Pacifiers that are one- piece should be advertised as such, but should you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer. Pacifiers that are made of one piece also help reduce choking hazards for children, as they don’t have the potential to come apart.
Orthodontic pacifiers are designed to look and feel more like the shape of a natural nipple, which not only feels more natural for your baby, but helps keep their tongue in the proper position, which can help reduce risk of harm to their developing jaws and teeth.
Research shows that children who use orthodontic pacifiers are also less likely to develop thumb sucking when they get older, and may have a lower risk for developing an open bite . Orthodontic pacifiers are typically advertised as such.
What to Look for When Shopping for Pacifiers
In addition to keeping the above criteria in mind when looking for a pacifier for your baby, always look for a pacifier that is the right size for your child. Each brand has different recommendations for the size depending on the age of your baby.
If you have a history of latex allergy in your family, you may not want to use a pacifier that has a latex nipple. Although these are softer, they should be avoided if there is a risk that your baby will be allergic.
The outside of the pacifier, called the guard, should be at least one and a half inches wide to prevent your baby from choking on the pacifier. There should also be holes in the guard that allow for air to circulate, which can protect the skin around your baby’s mouth when using a pacifier. Always replace the pacifier when necessary. Pacifiers that are broken or have a deteriorating material on the nipple or guard should be thrown away for safety reasons .
Considering a Pacifier for Your Baby?
If you’re looking for the best pacifier for your baby, don’t hesitate to follow up with your dentist about which brands or models would be best for your little one!