About Me

Dental Health and Food: Learning to Eat Better

My intense love for candy, cakes, and everything in between started as a child. I simply couldn't go one day without something sweet to eat. But my love for all things sweet took a toll on my teeth. My dentist diagnosed me with seven cavities, each one a different size and depth. After sitting through four long dental appointments, I decided to make a change. I now monitor my diet and only eat things that benefit my oral health. I'm here to help you take better care of your teeth. My blog offers tips on how to improve your diet, maintain good oral hygiene, and many other topics. Hopefully, you can learn to overcome your bad habits just as I did. Good luck with your future dental health.


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Dental Health and Food: Learning to Eat Better

Bag The Binky: Protecting Your Toddler's Teeth From Pacifier Damage

by Eric Bailey

Although pacifiers can be a terrific tool for soothing a fussy baby, if a child sucks on his or her binky for too long, there are several oral consequences that can happen as a result.  Because taking away the binky is a struggle for most kids, it is essential to understand how to get rid of the binky effectively and why getting rid of the pacifier early is so important.  Both of these points can help to provide the necessary motivation to help you to bag the binky successfully.

Damages that Can Result From Lengthy Pacifier Use

When a child's permanent teeth are coming in, it is integral to not have any unnecessary forces pressing against the newly erupting teeth.  These teeth need to come into the mouth in their most natural positions in order to develop correctly.  When a child sucks on a binky too long, oral ramifications can include:

  • gaps between the upper front and lower front teeth when the jaw is in a closed position
  • the upper teeth being pushed inside the lower back teeth
  • the front teeth not falling out at a normal time
  • delayed entrance of adult permanent teeth
  • misalignment of the jaw, or overbite 
  • the roof of the mouth narrowing

Other problems, outside of the oral issues, can include a child developing speech and language problems and having a higher risk of ear infections.

Methods To Get Rid Of The BInky

In order to avoid these consequences, there are many different strategies that you can try to successfully help your toddler to get rid of his or her binky.

Take It Away Early

Although the most important thing is to have your child completely weaned off the binky before their adult teeth begin coming in (which is usually around age 5), most agree that the earlier the binky is banned, the better.  Younger children are naturally less resistant to cutting their ties with the pacifier because they:

  • are more easily distracted
  • do not have as strong of an attachment to things
  • cannot verbally try to persuade or negotiate with you
  • are not as bothered by big changes
  • can break habits easier

Even though a child's permanent teeth most likely will not emerge until age 5, in order for you to have a more positive experience weaning your child off the binky, it is best to take it away earlier and, at the latest, by age 3.

Start Small and Gradual

Because taking away a child's beloved binky is a huge change for him or her, it is best not to take away the binky cold turkey at first.  Try to restrict binky use to during certain times of the day (i.e., bedtime, naps, car rides) and do not let your child have it during any other time.

Once you do this, you might decide to restrict your child's pacifier usage even more and only let him or her have it during bedtime.  Making these small changes can help your toddler to ease into this transition rather than the event being so abrupt.

Once it's Gone, Be Strong

After making these small changes, pick a time when you will take the binky away permanently.  Then, once the binky is gone, be strong and do not give it back under any circumstances.  Do whatever you have to do to not to cave in if your child has a bad night or begs to have it back.  You can:

  • throw all the pacifiers away completely
  • take them to a friend's house
  • cut them up
  • put them into storage

Whatever you decide, make sure that you commit to taking the binky away for good.

Perform a Ritual To Get Rid Of It

There are many rituals that you can do to help your toddler to understand that the binky is going away and will not come back.  Some of these options include:

  • giving the binky to a younger sibling
  • donating it to other babies
  • saying that the binky has disappeared
  • giving the binky to the "binky fairy"
  • having the binky go away during a big event (i.e., a birthday, holiday)

Whichever binky ritual you choose, prepare your toddler for this event by letting them know when you will take it away and emphasize the reasons for why it is important that they don't have the binky anymore.

Make The Binky Seem Distasteful

If your toddler thinks that the binky is no longer enjoyable to suck on, sometimes he or she will decide to give up the binky on his or her own.  To make the binky seem distasteful to a toddler you can:

  • cut up the binky
  • put a distasteful food or spice on it (i.e., lemon juice, pepper)
  • poke a small hole in the binky nipple

Whatever you decide to do, be consistent and stick with your desired strategy.  Although it might take 1-5 nights of crying for up to 45 minutes at a time, the reward of having a toddler with excellent teeth and oral health is most definitely worth your dedication and persistence. For more information about when to wean your child from their binky, talk to a pediatric dentist