Weaning From A Pacifier


How do I wean my 2-year-old from a pacifier? Or should I?

Dr. Greene's Answer

Many kids will stop using a pacifier on their own, when they are ready. As long as your child is done using the pacifier by age 4, there shouldn’t be any permanent effects on tooth or jaw development. After this age, however, consistent pacifier use may affect the upper front teeth.1

If you are anxious to help the process along, there are several ways to go about this. Usually the first step is to restrict the pacifier consistently to certain times, such as bedtime and nap time.

Next possible steps include offering the child the opportunity to trade in the pacifiers for a big-boy or big-girl toy, or dipping the pacifiers in something that just doesn’t taste so great, such as pickle juice, so kids will look forward to them less.

I do not recommend cutting holes in pacifiers because this can create a choking hazard.

1American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
Last medical review on: October 28, 2008
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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