Do pacifiers pose a health threat? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Do pacifiers pose a health threat?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

How many times have you popped a pacifier back into the mouth of a crying infant after it drops to the ground?

It's a common practice for parents, but new research presented at the American Society for Clinical Pathology shows those beloved binkies can be covered in bacteria.

The study suggests pores in the plastic can capture germs, food and water - creating a perfect spot for bacterial, fungal growth and infection.

Dr. R Scott Spies with Matthews Children's Clinic agrees binkies can be unsanitary.

"There's no question that there's multiple bacteria on pacifiers."

But the pediatrician is not concerned about pacifiers carrying harmful germs.

"Our immune systems are incredibly powerful and can handle these things generally," said Dr. R. Scott Spies.

"I've not in 15 years seen anybody get an illness from a pacifier."

No studies have proven that a dirty pacifier can lead to actual illness.

For those who still choose to use pacifiers Dr. Spies said, "It is a good idea to clean it with soapy water or boil it."

Solace for baby and reassuring to mom and dad.

Doctor Spies recommends replacing pacifiers at least monthly even if they are sterilized after every use.

He also says long term beyond four or five years of age will definitely lead to problems with teeth and needing braces.

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