Parents suck pacifiers: Researchers have found that the saliva of parents could be used to “clean” pacifiers in order to protect their babies against allergies, eczema, and asthma.
“We demonstrate that a common parental practice, sucking on the infant’s pacifier before it is given back to the infant, is associated with protection against early eczema development and asthma symptoms,” researchers said, reported CBS News.
The scientists, led by Dr. Bill Hesselmar with University of Gothenburg in Sweden, compared data among parents who “cleaned” the pacifier with saliva and those who used boiled water or rinsed the pacifier to clean it. The study evaluated 184 Swedish babies, which was published in the journal “Pediatrics.”
“This is a really interesting and intriguing observation,” Elizabeth Matsui of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and not involved in the study, told NPR.
She suggested that the study adds to evidence that exposure to microbes early in a child’s life can affect their health later down the road.
“There’s recently been an explosion of interest in the microbiome and how it might influence many things — but in particular someone’s propensity to develop an allergic disease,” she said.
The study also found that children born via Caesarean section, and not naturally, and whose pacifiers were boiled or rinsed were most likely to get eczema, according to UPI.
Authors of the study, however, noted that there was no direct links between better health and sucking on pacifiers.
Dr. William Schaffner, with Vanderbilt University, told the New York Times that sucking on pacifiers might just be a trait that the parents do not care as much about germs.
“It’s a very interesting study that adds to this idea that a certain kind of interaction with the microbial environment is actually a good thing for infants and children,” he told the paper. “I wonder if the parents that cleaned the pacifiers orally were just more accepting of the old saying that you’ve got to eat a peck of dirt. Maybe they just had a less ‘disinfected’ environment in their homes.”