How should parents clean a child’s dummy? This is an interesting question with lots of schools of thought.
Parents might boil a dummy, or wash it with detergent and rinse it with tap water, or just rinse it.
And some parents are very happy to just suck the dummy clean.
This research article written in May 2013 indicates that it’s okay for parents to do exactly that. The article, “Pacifier Cleaning Practices and Risk of Allergy Development”, suggested that this provided some protection against allergies. This is because adult saliva may contain beneficial immunological factors.
The press release for the article can be found here.
Professional Advice About Cleaning Dummies
However, the American Dental Association (ADA) strongly advised against this practice. It explained that the article “does not provide the full picture”.
The fact is that saliva can transmit dental decay from adult to child.
Adult saliva contains many species of bacteria, including types that cause tooth decay. A parent sucking on a child’s pacifier to clean it risks transmitting those bacteria to the infant.
The article from the American Dental Association made it clear that “A child’s teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they begin to erupt,”. As well as sucking dummies, the sharing of eating utensils may transfer decay-causing bacteria from a parent’s mouth into their child’s.
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