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Research report suggests that over-threes who use dummies are 'at risk of speech problems'

21 Oct 2009

Previous reports have concluded that dummies may contribute to badly spaced teeth, but also that they appear to reduce the risk of cot death among some babies. However, dental experts have warned that extended use of a dummy or thumb-sucking can deform teeth. Others have suggested that use of a dummy during waking hours prevents the child from joining in the chatter of everyday conversation.

In the latest work, scientists found children sucking their fingers, a bottle or a dummy past the age of three were three times more likely to have problems speaking. The team also found that babies who were breast-fed until at least nine months old were less likely to develop speech defects.

The study was conducted in Patagonia and was carried out by asking parents to fill in questionnaires about their children, whose speech was evaluated and their mouths examined.

Clarita Barbosa said: These results suggest extended use of sucking outside of breast-feeding may have detrimental effects on speech development in young children." But she also went on to say that: "further study with a larger group was necessary.

The latest research is published in the healthcare journal BMC Paediatrics and a full copy of the report can be downloaded here.

(Various sources including New Scotsman, Daily Telegraph, 21 October 2009)

Tags: Early Years, Talk To Your Baby

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