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Study: Pacifiers Carry Dangerous Bacteria

Alexandra Grablewski

Surprising findings from a new study may leave you crying for a new go-to baby soother. 

Researchers cultured 40 different species of bacteria from ten used pacifiers and found four different strains of Staphylococcus aureus, a common cause of skin infections and respiratory disease, reports HealthDay.

Bacteria found on common pacifiers have also been linked to cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases.  Additionally, they can grow a slimy coating of bacteria called a biofilm, which changes normal bacteria in toddlers’ mouths.  This can increase the risk of developing gastrointestinal problems, colic, or ear infections.

PLUS: Should You Use a Pacifier?

Study author Dr. Tom Glass, a professor of forensic sciences, pathology and dental medicine at Oklahoma State University, was particularly concerned by the fact that many of the bacteria that grew from the used pacifiers were resistant to commonly used antibiotics like penicillin and methicillin.

PLUS: Giving Up the Pacifier

While Glass doesn't recommend that parents use pacifiers to calm their child, other experts are not concerned about them carrying disease-causing germs and believe they can lower the risk of SIDS in infants.

If you’re not ready for your kid to quit the paci, be sure to soak the sucker daily in a denture-cleaning agent. Because wear increases the bacteria-trapping porousness of the plastic, replace them after two weeks of use.

How often do you clean or replace your child’s pacifier?  Leave a comment.