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The next time your child’s pacifier falls on the floor and there’s no sink in sight to rinse it off, don’t panic. Using your own saliva to lick it clean might actually be a better plan, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Yep, researchers in Sweden found that children whose parents cleaned their pacifiers by sucking on them (versus washing them with water or soap) are less likely to develop certain allergic conditions, like eczema and asthma.

Here’s why: It’s all about using your saliva to give your kid early exposure to your own microbes (aka beneficial bacteria) in order to stimulate their immune system and teach it not to overreact to harmless things like pollen and cats. 

In fact, out of 184 toddlers tested, those whose parents licked the pacifiers clean were much less likely to develop eczema between 18 and 36 months and asthma at 18 months than kids whose parents washed their pacifiers clean.

OK, so common-sense alert: You probably shouldn’t lick your kid’s pacifier clean if it falls on the floor at the supermarket. But in your own living room? It’s your call.

RELATED: The Surprising Benefit of Thumb Sucking

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