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      Your Health 11-02-12 Dirty pacifiers

      Check your child's pacifier! Doctors say{}pacifiers can{}get very dirty.

      {}Oklahoma State University researchers examined some pacifiers and found a wide range of disease-causing bacteria, fungus and mold on pacifiers that young children had been using.

      They say{}that applies also to removable orthodontic appliances such as retainers and even athletic mouth guards and dentures.

      Researchers{}say pores in the plastic can capture fungi, bacteria, food and water, creating a perfect spot for bacterial and fungal growth and infection.

      Experts say pacifiers can often grow a slimy coating of bacteria, called a biofilm, that{}alters the normal bacteria in a baby or toddler's mouth.{} They say that biofilm can spur inflammation and potentially increase the risk of developing gastrointestinal problems such as colic or even ear infections.

      Researchers say the same types of bacteria found on a common pacifier have been linked to cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases.#