Pacifier use and otitis media in infants twelve months of age or younger

Pediatr Dent. Jul-Aug 1999;21(4):255-60.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was two fold: to determine if within a selected population of infants the prevalence of otitis media was greater in pacifier users than in non-pacifier users, and to reveal if an association existed between otitis media and pacifier use.

Methods: The study consisted of 200 children, 12 months of age or younger. Parents were surveyed regarding children's pacifier habits, day care attendance, feeding habits, thumb sucking habits, exposure to parental smoking, and parental education level.

Results: The prevalence of otitis media in pacifier users (36%) was larger than that of non-pacifier users (23%), P < 0.05. A logistic regression analysis determined an association existed between otitis media and pacifier use, bottle feeding, thumb sucking, and day care utilization, P < or = 0.05. No association was discovered between otitis media and breast feeding, parental smoking and parental education level.

Conclusion: The risk of developing otitis media in an infant is two times greater if a pacifier is used and five times greater if bottle fed or attending a day care facility.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bottle Feeding / adverse effects
  • Bottle Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Odds Ratio
  • Otitis Media / epidemiology*
  • Otitis Media / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Virginia / epidemiology