Parents Who Suck On Their Infants' Pacifiers May Protect Their Children Against Developing Allergy
Allergies are very common in industrialized countries. It has been suggested that exposure to harmless bacteria during infancy may be protective against the development of allergy.
However, it has been difficult to pinpoint which bacteria a baby should be exposed to, and at what time and by which route this exposure should ideally occur.
Swedish researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, found that children whose parents habitually sucked the pacifier were three times less likely to suffer from eczema at 1.5 years of age, as compared with the children of parents who did not do this.
Saliva is a very rich source of bacteria and viruses, and the researchers believe that oral commensal microbes are transferred from parent to infant when they suck on the same pacifier. When the composition of the bacterial flora in the mouth was compared between infants whose parents sucked on their pacifiers and those whose parent did not, it was found to differ, supporting this hypothesis.
According to "the hygiene hypothesis," the development of allergy can be attributed in part to a paucity of microbial stimulation during early infancy.
"Early establishment of a complex oral microflora might promote healthy maturation of the immune system, thereby counteracting allergy development," says professor Agnes Wold who led the study.
The above story is based on the May 6, 2013 news release by University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
The research has been published online May 6, 2013 in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Hesselmar B, Sjoberg F, Saalman R, Aberg N, Adlerberth I, Wold AE. Pacifier Cleaning Practices and Risk of Allergy Development. PEDIATRICS, 2013; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-3345
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