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Studies from Finland show that children who use pacifiers are more likely to suffer recurrent ear infections and restricting pacifier use can help reduce this risk.

Sucking on pacifiers pulls open the Eustachian tube that runs from the mouth to the middle ear to allow bacteria that are normally in the mouth to climb up the Eustachian tube into the middle ear to cause an infection. In spite of recommendations to limit pacifier use, 68 percent of the parents continued to use pacifiers. So Marjo Niemelia, the author of these papers, recommends that children do not have to avoid pacifiers completely, they should using them just before falling asleep or when the child needs special soothing. If your child pulls on one or both ears, cries when he sucks on a bottle, or has a fever, running nose or a cough, check with your doctor. If he has an ear infection, try to limit use of his pacifier.

1) Pediatrics 2000;106:483-488.

2) Pediatrics 1995;96:(5, pt1):884-888.

3) Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 1994;29:121-127.

Checked 8/9/05

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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