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Studies Shed Light on Bacterial Pros and Cons of Children's Pacifiers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Ever clean your baby's pacifier … in your own mouth? To some, it's routine. To others, unthinkable. However, a new study says doing that may actually be beneficial for children.


According to Swedish researchers, those parents who clean their child's pacifier with their own saliva may actually be keeping their kids healthy by exposing them to more bacteria that their immune systems then learn to fight.

"Parents that transferred their own healthful bacteria in their mouth through the pacifier actually had kids that had less allergies," said allergist Dr. Samuel Friedlander. He added these children also had less eczema and asthma cases.

On the other hand, critics of this research say the immunological benefits shown in this research may not give parents the whole picture about bacteria transfer.

According to another study from the American Dental Association, published in the journal Pediatrics, parents may also be transferring bacteria that causes tooth decay to their little ones.

"A child's teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they begin to erupt, " said Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist in Maine and a spokesperson for the ADA. "Cavity-causing bacteria, especially Streptococcus mutans, can be transferred from adult saliva to children, increasing their risk of getting cavities."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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