Sucking your baby’s pacifier may help benefit their health

Washington: If you think sucking your baby’s pacifier to clean it and then popping it in your child’s mouth is gross, think again! Turns out, doing so may benefit their health.

The research was presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting and suggested a link between parental sucking on a pacifier and a lower allergic response among young children.
Researchers stated that parents may be passing healthy oral bacteria in their saliva that in turn affected the early development of their child’s immune system.

The study is believed to the first of its kind to evaluate the association between pacifier cleaning methods and the antibody Immunoglobulin E, or IgE. IgE is linked to the development of allergies and asthma.

The researchers interviewed 128 mothers of infants multiple times over a period of 18 months and asked how they cleaned their child’s pacifier.

Of the 128 mothers completing multiple interviews, 58 percent reported current pacifier use by their child. Of those who had a child using a pacifier, 41 percent reported cleaning by sterilization, 72 percent reported hand washing the pacifier, and 12 percent reported parental pacifier sucking.

The researchers found that children whose mothers sucked on the pacifier had lower IgE levels.

” IgE is a type of antibody related to allergic responses in the body. Although there are exceptions, higher IgE levels indicate a higher risk of having allergies and allergic asthma,” said Jaoude.

“We found that parental pacifier sucking was linked to suppressed IgE levels beginning around 10 months, and continued through 18 months,” said study co-author Edward Zoratti.

Parental pacifier sucking may be an example of a way parents may transfer healthy microorganisms to their young children. The study indicates an association between parents who suck on their child’s pacifier and children with lower IgE levels but does not necessarily mean that pacifier sucking causes lower IgE.