Braces are the last thing a new parent is thinking about when they’re trying to soothe a crying infant with a pacifier. Teeth straightening is a long way off, and coaxing a child to sleep today seems a little more important than whether they need orthodontics tomorrow. Turns out, the two may be connected: Using the wrong pacifier (or using one for too long) can lead to the development of a narrow palate, cross bite, and crowded teeth.
That’s the line of thinking behind Smilo, a new Boston-based baby brand launching today with a line of colorful orthodontic pacifiers and bottles. Co-developed by a medical-device designer and a pediatric dentist, Smilo’s patented pacifiers are designed to expand and flex across the roof of the mouth during soothing in order to support the baby’s developing palate. The theory being that a weaker pacifier allows the cheek muscles to push the palate inward during sucking, which can lead to its collapse.
There are two types of pacifiers available, one designed specifically for newborns and another for ages 0-32 months, the latter coming in three sizes to ensure they properly fit a child’s mouth at each stage of development. They’re dishwasher safe, come in four colors (plus a glow-in-the-dark model), and look pretty damn stylish.
In addition to pacifiers, Smilo’s also applying the same technology to bottles. They’ve designed a “milk duct” nipple that emulates breastfeeding and “creates a natural, uninterrupted flow to fends off colic, gas, and ear infections.” The goal being to reduce air intake and create happier, less gassy babies. Both the pacifiers and bottles are sold individually or as part of a parent-friendly bundle and are only available for sale on the company’s website.