When your child spits the dummy… literally, it’s a good idea to know the rules of hygiene and how to clean a dummy effectively. Read on to find out more and keep your child safe and healthy.
Generally, sucking on dummies isn’t thought to be a problem for your child’s oral health in their first few years of their life. (However, if you’re attempting to encourage your new bub to breastfeed, it’s been noted that you shouldn’t introduce a dummy in the first four or so weeks, as it may interfere with your child learning how to latch on to the breast.) Once the child reaches school age and starts growing their permanent teeth, or if they use a dummy for more than six hours, there is a risk that it could affect your child’s oral health.
Obviously, if you choose to offer dummies to your child, you need to ensure that they’re kept in a clean, hygienic state to avoid passing on bugs and bacteria. Dummies need regular cleaning so they don’t carry germs and put your child’s oral and digestive health at risk.
If you briefly drop a dummy on the floor, either replace it with a new, clean one, or at least rinse it thoroughly under hot water. If you drop the dummy outside or on a dirty surface, ensure you wash it with soapy water before giving it back to your child. Some parents choose to pop a dropped dummy into their own mouth to “wash” it, but this isn’t recommended as you might end up passing bacteria from your mouth to theirs. Also avoid dummies being shared between children, even if they are siblings.
Regularly check that all of your child’s dummies are in good condition and make sure you throw any damaged or old dummies out and replace them with new ones. If you see a split or a crack — no matter how small it may appear to be — make sure you throw the dummy out before germs get trapped in the split and lead to mouth, ear or stomach infections.
Experts suggest sterilising dummies daily by cleaning them in a steam steriliser or washing them in a sterilising solution. You can also soak dummies in boiling water for five minutes or wash them in hot water and soap, but make sure you remove all traces of soap before giving it back to your child. Alternatively, if you use dishwasher-safe dummies, simply clean them in a hot dishwasher cycle. This is a great option for time-poor mums.
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