LOS ANGELES (CBS Sacramento) – The findings of a new study show that, if parents wish to protect their children from developing allergies, they should suck on their pacifiers.

The researchers, who are based on Sweden, allegedly found that the bacteria transferred from the mouth of the parent to that of the child during the practice helps their immune systems learn which non-threatening germs to ignore.

Local experts noted the merit in the research team’s logic.

“The immune system’s purpose is to differentiate between harmless and harmful,” Dr. Ron Ferdman, a pediatric allergist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who was not involved in the study, told Health magazine. “If your immune system is not presented with enough microbes, it just defaults to doing harmful attacks against things that are not harmful, like food, cat dander or dust mites.”

Those involved in the study reportedly recruited 206 pregnant women and 187 infants to participate in the study. Families with an allergic parent were targeted by the team of researchers.

The DNA of the saliva from 33 participating infants was then fingerprinted. Of that portion, 21 had a parent who sucked on their pacifiers for the study, Health magazine found. All of the subjects were then followed and studied until they reached 18 months of age.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics on May 6, the magazine learned.