Extended Pacifier Use and Smoking

As a parent, we want to do everything we can to make sure we are leading our children down the right path. The path that will lead to a happy, healthy, adult life. We take as many precautions as we can to ensure their safety. We try everything we can to keep them calm and satisfied. Everything from late night singsongs, to searching endlessly for the lost teddy, or having a constant stash of their beloved pacifiers to be reached at a moments notice. But could our efforts be doing long term harm in addition to short term relief?

In a study performed by a group of pediatric dentists from University of São Paulo, in São Paulo Brazil, a group of 261 subjects showed correlation between “prolonged pacifier use during childhood [and] smoking initiation in adolescence and early childhood”. Of the 261 participants, 27.6% were smokers (72 individuals) who smoked an average of 9.4 cigarettes a day. The study concluded that regarding oral habits, “a prolonged use of pacifiers was significantly associated with smoking”. Of the participants, those who used a pacifier for longer than 24 months during childhood had a 5x greater risk of becoming a smoker. From 148 children with prolonged pacifier habits, 63 (42%) became smokers by adulthood. However, of the 113 children who used a pacifier less than 24 months, only 9 (8%) were smokers.

Now, I don't know about you, but those are scary numbers. If we think about it though, the end results are very similar between pacifier use and smoking. When our babies are upset or anxious, one if the first things we do if reach for that paci. Don't smokers do the same with their cigarettes? Both items offer relaxation and have a calming effect on the user. It doesn't sound totally unimaginable.

We aren’t discussing this to try to end all pacifier use to create a healthier world, that would be ridiculous. We know that there is plenty of evidence to support pacifier use in young babes and children. It pays a huge role in their development and their ability to self sooth. But we do think its something to mull over if you and your child are starting to see that their pacifier is becoming more of a hindrance than a help.

Read the full study here: http://bit.ly/29BX1K9