Carrollton, TX Dentist Discusses Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is often one of the first decisions a new mother will make for their baby. Nursing can help a baby’s body fight off infections and reduces the risk of other health concerns such as ear infections, asthma, child obesity and SIDS. Breastfeeding has even been shown to lower the risk of a woman developing ovarian and breast cancers.
While most mothers know about the benefits of nursing, there are many who don’t know that breastfeeding can have an impact on both their own and their child’s dental health.
Building a Better Bite
There have been several recent studies, published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, that have found babies who are exclusively breastfed during the first 6 months, were much less likely to develop alignment issues, than those who were breastfed for shorter periods of time or who were not breastfed at all.
This does not mean that breastfeeding will exclusively prevent the need for braces in the future. There are other factors such as genetics and thumb-sucking that can also affect alignment. The best thing for a mother to do is to bring their child to the dentist so that they can examine the progress and development of your child’s mouth.
Reducing the Risk of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Breastfeeding also offers a reduced risk of baby bottle tooth decay which is caused by frequently exposing your baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar such as milk, formula or fruit juice. This form of tooth decay most often affects the upper front teeth, although other teeth may be affected as well.
While breastfeeding can greatly reduce the risk of tooth decay, it does not entirely prevent it and cavities can still form. Even natural breast milk contains some amount of sugar, which is why it is important to care for your child’s teeth right from the start.
Whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, it is a good idea to use a clean, moist washcloth to gently wipe clean your child’s gums daily. And then, once their first teeth appear, brush them daily by using a tiny dab of toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.