Breastfeeding is not a possibility for every mom, but many moms chose to breastfeed for a variety of reasons including reduced risk of asthma, SIDS, child obesity, and infections in their children. Breastfeeding also has a positive impact on your child’s dental health. Although not permanent, baby teeth are important to protect because they help children learn how to eat solid foods and learn how to speak properly. Here are a couple of the dental benefits of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Helps Teeth Alignment
Children who are breastfed are much less likely to suffer from teeth alignment issues including crossbites, overbites, and open bites than children who were not breastfed at all or for less than six months. This is because the sucking mechanisms vary in breastfeeding and bottle- feeding, requiring infants to use their jaw muscles more in breastfeeding. Before you rejoice at the thought of not having to pay for your child to have braces though, know that many other factors influence bite including thumb sucking, pacifiers, and genetic factors.
Breastfeeding Reduces Bottle Rot
Many infants and toddlers suffer from bottle rot which is the decaying of baby teeth due to allowing children to go to sleep with a bottle at night. The acids from the contents of the bottle whether they be juice, milk, or formula, cause the unfortunate decay. Breast milk contains the perfect balance of lactose, amino acids, water, and fatty acids which is why this problem occurs much less frequently in babies that are breastfed. Proper and frequent cleaning of infant gums and teeth after feeding though are still important to reduce tooth decay.
Many moms ask if they should stop breastfeeding once the teeth emerge. It is not necessary to do so. The best time to stop breastfeeding is when it is best for you although many health organizations recommend breastfeeding for one year or even two to benefit your child’s health.
For other questions regarding the effects of feeding on your baby’s teeth please call our office.