Access to all articles, new health classes, discounts in our store, and more!
There is a new study that found an association between pacifier use and acute middle ear infections in babies, reports the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing education. Investigators studied 200 children who were 12 months of age or younger. They found that 36 percent of the pacifier users had ear infections, compared with 23 percent of the non-pacifier users. Otitis media, the scientific term for acute middle ear infections, often develops when viruses from an infection of the nose and throat travel along the Eustachian, or auditory, tube to the middle ear. "Continued sucking on a pacifier can cause the auditory tubes to become abnormally open, which allows secretions from the throat to seep into the middle ear," explains Maria Smith, DDS. "Transmission of bacteria in secretions would lead to middle ear infections." Researchers also found a strong association between middle ear infections and bottle-fed children, who were five times more likely to have middle ear infections within their first year of life than those children who were breast-fed.