Breastfeeding is absolutely crucial for your baby to fight off infections and reduce risks for developing conditions like asthma, SIDS and child obesity. Mothers should ideally breastfeed their child exclusively for the first six months and then continue till the second year. Nursing moms are less prone to developing breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding has many dental benefits too. Therefore it is essential that nursing mothers should adopt proper oral health practices to maintain good oral hygiene and reduce chances of getting cavities from the very beginning. Let’s look at how breastfeeding affects the dental health of both baby and mom.
Breastfeeding Can Help Develop a Better Bite
Breastfeeding helps babies develop better facial muscle growth because it molds the palate, jaws and teeth. According to the August 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months reportedly have dental irregularities and less teeth alignment issues such as open bites, crossbites, and overbites, than those who aren’t breastfed or those breastfed for a shorter time period. But this certainly does not mean that exclusive breastfeeding will never have any dental issues because there are other factors like genetics, thumb sucking, and use of pacifiers that affects teeth alignment. Breastfeeding requires the baby to move its jaws and tongue in a certain manner, thereby acting like jaw exercise. This action stimulates the muscle tone in the jaw laying the ground for proper teeth alignment. Moms should take their baby to the dentist regularly as soon the first tooth begins to erupt so that the dentist can monitor whether the baby teeth are coming out at the right time. This ensures that permanent teeth develops at the right time too
Don’t Need To Wean When Your Baby Gets Teeth
New moms are often confused about whether to stop breastfeeding when the baby starts teething. The answer to that is an emphatic ‘NO.’ Your nursing relationship must not be disrupted by the eruption of your baby’s teeth. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of a baby’s life at least so mothers should not start weaning the baby when they notice the first tooth. There is no reason to worry as an actively nursing baby will not bite or nip the breast while feeding as the tongue covers the lower jaw. And for babies that do develop the habit of biting, the behavior can be stopped with a little persistence from the mother.
You should only stop breastfeeding when you think it is the best decision for you and the baby and certainly not just because your baby’s teeth start appearing.
Less Chance Of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay When Breastfeeding
When breastfeeding, there is much less risk of your baby getting tooth decay from being bottle fed. With prolonged exposure of your baby’s teeth to sugary drinks that contain sugar. Tooth decay can occur when a baby is put to bed with a bottle, whether it contains milk or fruit juice. Water is fine though because the teeth won’t be exposed to sugary drinks for a long time. Bottle tooth decay mostly occurs in the upper front teeth.
Can Breastfed Babies Also Get Cavities?
The short answer to that question is ‘Yes, it can’ because natural, breast milk is also like formula, and contains sugar. Therefore, it is important to practice proper oral care for your baby’s teeth right from the start. You should wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth every day after breastfeeding. When the first tooth emerges, you should brush his/her teeth twice a day and use fluoride toothpaste the size of a rice grain for brushing.
Most importantly, remember it is safe to go to the dentist while you’re pregnant and while you’re nursing. Check out the U.S National Library of Medicine’s Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) to search for any information on medication and how it affects your supply, your baby and whether there are any alternatives available. But always consult your doctor about what you find. Higley Park Dental Care can help protect the dental health of your baby right from the start with proper examination and comprehensive oral care. You can ensure your family’s dental health by scheduling an appointment with us on 480-559-8098!