A pacifier (American English) or dummy (British English), also known as a binky, soother (Canadian English) or teether, is a rubber, plastic or silicone nipple given to an infant to suck upon. In its standard appearance it has a teat, mouth shield, and handle. The mouth shield and/or the handle is large enough to avoid the danger of the child choking on it or swallowing it.
Researchers have found that use of a pacifier is associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. They are divided over whether this association is sufficient reason to prefer pacifier use. Some argue that pacifiers should be recommended on the strength of an association, just as back sleeping was recommended on the strength of an association. Others argue that the association is not strong enough or that the mechanism is unclear.
Pacifiers have also been found to reduce infants' crying during painful procedures such as venepuncture
Some parents prefer the use of a pacifier to the child sucking their thumb or fingers.
Researchers in Brazil have shown that neither "orthodontic" nor standard pacifiers prevent dental problems if children continue sucking past the age of three years.
It is commonly reported anecdotally that pacifier use among stimulant users helps reduce bruxism and thus prevents tooth damage.
It also sometimes helps them get to sleep.
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