Monday, August 10, 2015

Breastfeeding and Oral Health

Did anyone know there is such as thing as “National Breastfeeding Week”?!  
I didn’t, but figured once I heard about it, this month’s blog was a good opportunity to discuss breastfeeding and its effect on the oral health of a baby.

logo for National Breastfeeding Awareness Month
A June 2015 study published in Pediatrics reported that babies who exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months were 72% less likely to have crooked bites (aka. malocclusion).  Dentists and orthodontists are quick to point out though, that other factors such as genetics, thumb-sucking and pacifier use are all just as important when it comes to teeth alignment.

Another benefit of exclusive breastfeeding, is a reduced risk of baby bottle tooth decay.  “Bottle rot” is cause by the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. Many times, a baby is put to bed with a bottle containing formula, milk or fruit juice. The upper front teeth are usually the most affected, but other teeth may also be badly decayed.

It’s important to know that babies who breastfeed can also develop cavities.  
A few days after birth, you should begin wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth, daily. Once the first tooth emerges, brush the baby’s teeth twice a day using a children’s toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.

I personally have witnessed the destructive effects of poor oral hygiene and diet on many babies, and I hope this blog has shed some light on an important issue.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office. 

Give us a call today to schedule your toddler’s first dental visit!