In a perfect world, all kids would give up their binky by the time they can hold a cup, or by age 1. Beyond that, constantly sucking on a pacifier can lead to dental problems, says Dr. Cohen. The pressure created by your child's mouth can lead to orthodontic trouble, such as protruding front teeth and a misaligned bite. Though this doesn't happen until kids start getting permanent teeth (usually around age 5), it's wise to start weaning your child off her binky well beforehand when the habit is easier to break.
Excessive pacifier use can also interfere with your toddler's developing speech and make him less interested in talking. "Parents should at least start limiting daytime pacifier use so that kids have a chance to hone their language skills and to socialize with others," says Kristin Hannibal, MD, behavioral pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.