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Duration of pacifier use, thumb sucking may affect dental arches

Pacifier use and thumb sucking after age two years can cause dental problems in preschool-aged children, according to researchers at the University of Iowa. Researchers studied 372 children longitudinally from birth using parent-answered questionnaires. They obtained alginate impressions and wax bite registrations from the children at 4 to 5 years of age and assessed the subjects for posterior crossbites, anterior open bites and overjets. They also measured dental arch parameters — width, length and depth — directly from the impressions and registrations. From the University of Iowa:Study finds duration of pacifier use, thumb sucking may affect dental arches
Pacifier use and thumb sucking after age two years can cause dental problems in preschool-aged children, according to researchers at the University of Iowa.

Researchers studied 372 children longitudinally from birth using parent-answered questionnaires. They obtained alginate impressions and wax bite registrations from the children at 4 to 5 years of age and assessed the subjects for posterior crossbites, anterior open bites and overjets. They also measured dental arch parameters — width, length and depth — directly from the impressions and registrations.

They then grouped the subjects according to type of habit (pacifier or digit sucking) and duration of nonnutritive sucking habits. Subjects with durations of less than 12 months were grouped further according to the duration for which they were breast-fed. Researchers compared the dental arch and occlusal characteristics among the habit and duration groups.
In the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, researchers reported that they found no relationship between the duration of breast-feeding during the first year of life and any dental arch or occlusion parameters. They did find that prolonged pacifier use habits resulted in changes to the dental arches, and occlusal parameters in children who used pacifiers were different from those in children who sucked their fingers or thumbs.

They also found that some changes in the dental arch parameters and occlusal characteristics (prevalence of posterior crossbite and increased amount of overjet) persisted well beyond the cessation of pacifier use or digit sucking.

Researchers concluded that their results suggest that current recommendations for discontinuing pacifier use and digit sucking habits may not be optimal in preventing habit-related malocclusions.



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