Local dentist warns parents improper cleaning of pacifier could cause dental decay

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — A local dentist is warning parents that improper cleaning of pacifiers could lead to dental decay.

Pediatric dentist Dr. Scott Cashion says dental decay can be transmitted from adult to child by the parent sucking on the pacifier to “clean it.”

Dr. Cashion points to a study recently published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, reporting that the immunological benefits of adult saliva is limited.

“Many parents don’t realize that adult saliva contains a variety of microorganisms which may be harmful to health,”  he says.

“Licking a pacifier can transfer bacteria, especially some forms of streptococcus, that  may increase the infant’s chance of developing tooth decay as they grow.”

Another precaution is to avoid dipping the pacifier in honey, juice, sugar or sweetened drinks, says Dr. Cashion.

“The high sugar content in these substances can contribute to what we call ‘baby bottle tooth decay’ or cavities in the child’s front teeth.”

Additional information on children’s oral health can be found at www.ncdental.org or www.ada.org.

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