Ear Infections-Pacifier Link
A recent study by the Academy of General Dentistry has linked the prolonged use of pacifiers to increased incidence of inner ear infections. Many parents run back and forth to their pediatrician’s office battling recurring ear infections in their children. This has led to repeated use of antibiotics, placement of tubes in the ears and pain and suffering for children.
Otitis media, the scientific term for acute middle ear infections, often develops when viruses or bacteria from an infection of the nose and throat travel along the Eustachian, or auditory tube to the middle ear. It has been shown that continued sucking on a pacifier can cause the auditory tubes to become abnormally open, which allows secretion from the throat to seep into the middle ear. This can lead to inner ear infections.
It may be best to consider restricting the use of the pacifier to the baby’s first 10 months. Pacifiers come into contact with many microbes and may also be a conduit for bacteria and viruses to enter the child’s oral cavity.
If your child is constantly battling middle ear infections, discontinuing the use of the pacifier may be an alternative to surgery or antibiotics to stop this problem.