Did you know that breastfeeding is assertive health-promoting behavior? Once you know this, you may have several questions going in your head, like, for example, how does your child’s oral health gets benefitted, or is it bad for your baby's teeth? If yes, then when to stop breastfeeding your baby? Breastfeeding is one of a mother's most important decisions for her baby. It helps boosts your baby’s immunity, and reduces health risks like asthma, SIDS, ear infections, and obesity in children.
Why is breastfeeding your baby good?
There is a close connection between breastfeeding and oral health. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), breast milk is considered to be a healthier choice than formula feed or store-bought milk:
Now let's understand how breastfeeding can impact the dental health of both baby and mom.
According to studies, babies who were exclusively breastfed for the first six months or more were less likely to have teeth malocclusions such as open bites, crossbites, and overbites, than those who were breastfed for shorter lengths of time or not at all.
It's still possible that your breastfed baby will require braces someday, even if she's exclusively breastfed. Other factors affecting teeth alignment in your babies include genetics, pacifier use, and thumbsucking.
2. Improve nasal breathing
Breastfeeding helps the mother’s nipples adapt to the internal shape of the baby's oral cavity, ensuring a proper oral seal that results in good nasal breathing. Thus, reducing the incidence of an open-mouth posture.
3. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Is Reduced by Breastfeeding
Another benefit of breastfeeding includes reduced baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when the baby's teeth are exposed frequently to drinks containing sugar. Infants often develop tooth decay when they sleep with bottles -containing formula, milk, or fruit juice. The upper front teeth are usually affected, but other teeth may also be affected.
4. Breastfeeding promotes saliva production.
Breastfeeding prevents dental caries in infants by boosting saliva production. Breastfeeding requires a squeeze-action from the tongue and lip, while bottle-feeding is more passive. Thus, it increases salivary neutralization and reduces the risk of dental caries by 50%.
To prevent your baby from getting cavities, begin wiping your baby’s gums with a clean and wet/moist gauze pad or a cloth daily. When your baby teeth emerge, brush them with fluoride-containing toothpaste. Make sure you take just a tiny amount of toothpaste like the size of a grain of rice. Start doing this when the first tooth emerges.
Although the American Dental Association (ADA) states that breastfeeding can cause dental caries if fed throughout the night after a baby's first tooth has emerged. It is also applicable to bottle-fed babies.
Dental practitioners should encourage breastfeeding as healthy behavior. Some general recommendations are:
Several benefits of breastfeeding for children and mothers have been well documented; breastfeeding also protects against dental caries and prevents malocclusions.
About the Author:
Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer
Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst
Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service Leadership from the Oscar Murphy International.