Part of the chiropractic philosophy is to live life in a natural way. Your body is designed to function well in an environment with other people, animals, and even bacteria. When that environment changes, the function of our bodies can change, too.
Recent studies have shown that children who are allowed to play in dirt grow up healthier than those who live mostly indoors, and that Amish children are surprisingly resistant to asthma and allergies. The cleaner we try to be, and the more chemicals we use in that pursuit, the more we interfere with the natural environment that our bodies expect.
And here is yet another interesting study that shows that intimate contact between parents and infant has positive results for the baby's immune system. Children who breastfeed already have intimate contact with their mother's skin (and the hosts of bacteria who peacefully live there). If parents additionally kiss their children or deliver them vaginally or suck their pacifiers to clean them, the parents can also transfer healthy bacteria to their children. This stimulates the children's immune system.
Parents who boil their children's pacifiers to sterilize them, however, may not be passing along these bacteria and thus putting their children at some risk for asthma and eczema. If the children never encounter these healthy bacteria, their immune systems may not develop properly.
From the study abstract:
Children whose parents “cleaned” their pacifier by sucking it (n = 65) were less likely to have asthma (odds ratio [OR] 0.12; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.01–0.99), eczema (OR 0.37; 95% CI 0.15–0.91), and sensitization (OR 0.37; 95% CI 0.10–1.27) at 18 months of age than children whose parents did not use this cleaning technique (n = 58). Protection against eczema remained at age 36 months (hazard ratio 0.51; P = .04). Vaginal delivery and parental pacifier sucking yielded independent and additive protective effects against eczema development. The salivary microbiota differed between children whose parents cleaned their pacifier by sucking it and children whose parents did not use this practice.
Additional discussion from an article about the study:
The study joins others in suggesting that changing an infant's microbiota may influence the development of allergic disorders, according to Amal Assa'ad, MD, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and tells clinicians "that we have to let nature play out a little bit and not be too clean and not be forming artificial barriers in the connection between the mother and the infant and the parents and the infant."
A possible concern with transferring a pacifier from a parent's mouth to a child's is the spread of respiratory infection, although there was no difference in the rate of such infections based on pacifier cleaning practices in the current study.
Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
All images used are under Creative Commons license.
Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
This blog is provided by Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria, PC, proudly located in Peoria, IL.