Study: Baby`s spit-cleaned pacifier may help prevent allergies - KMSP-TV

Study: Baby`s spit-cleaned pacifier may help prevent allergies

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

For years, parents have been told not to clean their babies' pacifiers by placing them in their mouths. Now, a newly released report posted on the American Academy of Pediatrics' website says children whose parents cleaned their pacifiers by sucking it, were less likely to have asthma, eczema and allergies.

The findings were surprising to new mom Tyshae Dunbar and her pediatrician Renee Slade.

"I always put it in hot water," said Tyshae Dunbar. "I still think it's better to put it in the water."

"When parents suck on their child's pacifier or use their child's spoon and feed it back to the child, bacteria from our adult mouths, gets transferred back to our baby's mouth and their more at risk for dental caries," Dr. Slade says.

Dental caries is a bacterial infection.

Slade says she's not ready to advise parents to clean pacifiers by sucking them despite an 11 page document which says parental pacifier sucking might be used in primary prevention.

"It's a very small study and I think that there are other things that we can do," Dr. Slade says. "One would be breast-feeding, which is something that we've been recommending for decades, to decrease the risk of these atopic diseases."

The report's author is based in Sweden and says the study tracked 184 participants from birth.

"We don't think the saliva contains a huge amount of bacteria," Dr. Bill Hesselmar said in a phone interview with FOX 32's Tisha Lewis. "That stimulated the immune system very early in life so you develop tolerance instead of allergy."

Heselmar, MD, Phd, is an Associate Professor at Queen Silvia's Children's Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden.

In response to the study, mother Angela Gagnon says, "Maybe there's something to be said about that, that sterile isn't always the best."

"There are a lot of new studies, I would have to see some proof," says mother Katerina Saul. "If I would see that it works, I'll definitely do it, yes, to prevent her allergies, yes."

The report's author says participants kept food diaries and were examined regularly by an allergist for more than decade. The participants in the study are now 14 years old.

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