Breastfeeding can have an impact on the dental health of your baby. Here, our Grande Prairie dentists explain how.
Breastfeeding & Tooth Alignment
Recent studies, one in Pediatrics in 2015 and another in the August 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, indicate that babies who were breastfed exclusively during their first 6 months were less likely to develop misaligned teeth than those who were breast fed for shorter periods of time, or exclusively bottle fed.
This is not to say, though, that if you breastfeed your baby, they will never develop alignment issues (or that if you don'y breast feed, they will).
The best thing you can do to ensure a healthy bite is to take your child to the dentist, so that the dentist can monitor tooth eruption. The dentist will be able to make sure that the baby teeth and permanent teeth are erupting at the right times.
You can continue to breastfeed after your child’s teeth come in.
In fact, The World Health Organization recommends that moms continue breastfeeding for two years, if they can.
Every child is different, and you should stop breastfeeding whenever you and your pediatrician agree it’s best. But there is no need to stop breastfeeding when your child’s teeth come in.
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of baby bottle tooth decay.
Frequent, prolonged exposure of the babies’ teeth to drinks in bottles that contain sugar (like formula, juice, or even breastmilk) can result in tooth decay.
This means that another benefit of exclusive breastfeeding is that it reduces the risk of your child developing baby bottle tooth decay.
Breastfed babies can still get cavities.
Although it’s all natural, breast milk still contains sugar. For this reason, it’s important to clean your baby’s teeth from the beginning. Starting a few days after birth, wipe your baby’s gums daily with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth.
As your baby’s teeth begin to erupt, brush them twice a day. You can ask your dentist for advice on the proper technique.