Out of all the things you could do to improve your baby's health, can cleaning your baby's pacifier using your saliva really boost your child's immune system?
Image Source: Shutterstock, Boontoom Sae-Kor
What should you do when your baby drops their pacifier? You might look for the safe option which includes boiling or sanitizing it. Or maybe you’ll just pick it up and rub off any dust before handing it back to your baby. Surprisingly, popping your baby’s pacifier into your mouth to clean it can improve your baby's immune system according to a study. As disgusting as it may seem to some, your saliva can boost your baby’s immune system after using this rather peculiar pacifier cleaning technique that some parents use.
The study noted that parental sucking on a child’s pacifier can reduce their risk of developing allergies. Healthy or friendly oral bacteria from a parent’s saliva may be responsible for strengthening a baby’s immune system. It’s suggested that these transferred harmless bacteria stimulate the immune system. This study adds to increasing evidence that exposure to microbes early in life can affect your baby's future health. Some studies have also shown that children who attended daycare or grew up on a farm were less likely to develop immune-mediated illnesses.
From the moment a child passes through the birth canal, they’re exposed to different types of microbes. This exposure develops their immune system and acts like training.
Over-sanitizing and whether you should lick your baby’s pacifier
Sanitizing everything in sight has become the norm. Many are finally aware of the importance of good hygiene. There's no doubt that sanitizing has saved us from countless diseases. But in certain cases, over-sanitizing may be an issue. Even then you shouldn't be shoving your baby's pacifier into the dirt for no reason although a quick lick to clean their pacifier may be beneficial.
Microbes such as bacteria have a bad reputation although some bacteria are actually good for your health. If you're over-sanitizing you'll kill both the good and bad bacteria. Making your child live in a completely sterile environment is going to do them more harm than good which is why targeted hygiene is usually enough. Targeted hygiene involves protecting yourself from harmful microbes while keeping some exposure to the good microbes around us.