Rockville, Md — Research seems to indicate that pacifier use may negatively affect the speech skills of children if used for a longer time than is typical, according to researchers who will be presenting their findings during the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) annual convention in Philadelphia.

According to ASHA member Danielle LaPrairie and her co-presenters, the presence of a pacifier in the mouth may interfere with the development of the tongue tip movement needed for the production of certain speech sounds.

"There isn’t a gold standard in the pacifier literature about an ideal age to eliminate pacifier use. Opinions vary," LaPrairie said in the press statement. "However, a study in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that children who continue to use a pacifier past age 2 increased their risk of developing protruding front teeth and an improper bite, which can affect speech production. Our study highlights the importance of continued research with pacifier use and the possible effects on speech articulation."

SOURCE: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)