Sucking your child's dummy 'clean' could give them a health boost

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Sucking your child’s dummy may give them health benefits. [Photo: Getty]

Parents who ‘clean’ their baby’s dummy by putting it in their mouths may be improving their child’s health.

That’s according to results from a study of 128 parents and their children, conducted by Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

In the study, over half the group (58%) said their children used dummies and 12% of parents said they sucked them clean.

The researchers found dummies which had been used by both parent and child had lower levels of an antibody, called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which is associated with allergies.

Those who have high levels of the antibody tend to have an increased risk of both allergies and allergic asthma.

High IgE levels typically indicate a greater risk of having allergies and allergic asthma, but those who their dummies sucked showed almost a 50 per cent drop.

Co-author of the study Edward Zoratti said: “We found that parental pacifier sucking was linked to suppressed IgE levels beginning around 10 months, and continued through 18 months.

“Further research is needed, but we believe the effect may be due to the transfer of health-promoting microbes from the parent’s mouth.

“It is unclear whether the lower IgE production seen among these children continues into later years.”

The scientists presented the research at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle.

However, lead author of the study Dr Eliane Abou-Jaoude said further research was necessary to prove the dummy-sucking practice was responsible for the lowered allergic responses in children.

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