• Is It Safe to Suck Your Baby's Dummy Clean?

Is It Safe to Suck Your Baby's Dummy Clean?

Jan 01 2019 Read 1714 Times

From letting a child eat food off the ground to scheduling rigid nap times, parenting can be incredibly subjective. Now, new research from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology suggests that parents who suck their baby's dummy clean could facilitate a protective effect against allergies during the first 18 months of life.

While it may seem like an unhygienic move, they point to a link between sucking pacifiers clean and prevention of allergies in young children. The findings drew on data sourced from 128 mothers over a period of 18 months. Each mother was asked if their child used a pacifier and if so, how it was cleaned. Of the 58% who reported pacifier use, 41% sterilised, 72% hand washed and 12% simply sucked it clean.

Eliane Abou-Jaoude, MD, ACAAI member and lead author on the study explains, "We found the children of mothers who sucked on the pacifier had lower IgE levels."

Minimising IgE levels

Triggered by allergic responses in the body, IgE is a type of antibody that can often indicate a higher disposition allergies and asthma. Abou-Jaoude muses that by sucking dummies clean parents are actively transferring healthy microorganisms to their children and as a result, building immunity and curbing IgE levels.

"We found that parental pacifier sucking was linked to suppressed IgE levels beginning around 10 months, and continued through 18 months," adds Edward Zoratti, MD, ACAAI member and co-author of the study. "Further research is needed, but we believe the effect may be due to the transfer of health-promoting microbes from the parent's mouth. It is unclear whether the lower IgE production seen among these children continues into later years."

The health benefits of "tough love"

It builds on a growing body of research and age-old suspicions that exposing children to certain microorganisms and germs in their early years can help stimulate development of a robust immune system. Now, the study suggests that the concept of "tough love" could also be linked to developing resistance against allergic diseases.

"Parental pacifier sucking may be an example of a way parents may transfer healthy microorganisms to their young children," asserts Abou-Jaoude.

Beyond human health, contamination can also spell big problems for manufacturing industries, including microelectronics. For a closer look at how engineers are working to minimise Airborne Molecular Contamination (AMC) don't miss 'Monitoring Airborne Molecular Contamination in Indoor Cleanroom Air', which explores how the latest enhancement of the airmoTWA range has augmented Chromatotec® solutions in the field.

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