Is my baby's pacifier contaminated with germs that can make her sick?

Shari Green
Dental Hygiene

Yes... For example, let me cite two studies at least that suggest "Yes"...

...according to a study done in 2001 by Mattos et al, pacifiers were found to encourage both colonization and proliferation of oral "yeast" organisms in over 58% of children ages 1-18 months. The organism named was "candida". Only "oral yeast infection" was observed in this particular study.

In 1997, Ollila et al studied risk factors for oral microbes and found a strong association with lactobacilli, and a significant association with again, "candida"(yeast). This study suggested that pacifier usage increases both salivary lactobacilli and candida, which both may play a role in susceptibility to cavities in children. So, according to at least these two particular studies, the answer is "yes". 

But, there are also "benefits" that many "experts" note that are related to the usage of the pacifier, and that should be discussed with your child's pediatrician. Weaning by around 6 months to 9 months of age has also been suggested by a host of "experts" and researchers so as to minimize potential concerns, also an important topic to discuss with your pediatrician, as well!

The short answer to your question is:  YES!! Our studies of baby pacifiers even from "well-baby" clinics have found the numbers and types of germs that can not only cause infections in the mouth, but also the stomach, the ears, the lungs, and ultimately get into the blood stream. Again from our studies, we found that most pacifiers in the package had either low numbers or no germs. After only 1 week, the pacifiers had both the numbers and the types of germs to make your baby sick. So, the next time your baby has the colick or a cold or an earache, you might think about throwing the pacifier away and starting with a new one.

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