Breastfeeding is a special time between a mother and a child and can create a unique bond. It has many health benefits for mother and baby. Did you know breastfeeding can also affect your child’s oral health? Studies show babies who are breastfed has a lower rate of malocclusion (crooked teeth) and the need for braces. Although genetics and other factors come into play, it appears babies who are breastfed develop healthier bites than babies who are bottle fed. Breastfed babies also may have a lower incidence of cavities and tooth decay because of a substance in breastmilk which helps to kill the bacteria which causes them.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when baby is put to bed with bottle of milk, juice, or other liquid which is high in sugar. This is because bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars and produce plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance and secretes acid which erodes the enamel of your child’s teeth. Your baby’s teeth may not be showing yet, but they are developing under the gum line and can still be damaged. Breastfed babies have a much lower risk of baby bottle decay since they are not usually put to bed with a bottle.
Protect Baby’s Growing Teeth
Although you don’t see them, your baby’s teeth are developing under their gums. Breastmilk does have natural sugars in it, so be sure to wipe your baby’s gums with a soft damp washcloth after you breastfeed to cut down on any bacteria growth. As your baby grows, use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean and massage their gums. Bring your child in to the dentist as soon as their first teeth erupt to put them on the track for healthy teeth and gums.
Take Care of Mom
Being a new mom is joyful, but stressful. It feels like you don’t have enough time to take care of everything including yourself. It is important for new moms to keep up on their oral health routine of brushing and flossing as well as regular dental visits. Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet. You have to be healthy to take care of your baby, so take the time to take care of yourself, too.
To this date no hard evidence has been found linking breastmilk and cavities. Although breastmilk does have sugar in it, it does not have the amount found in formula or juice. Breastmilk has many health benefits for your baby. It is a natural and beautiful way to give your baby the nutrition and love he or she needs to grow and thrive.
Call or contact us today and ask about breastmilk and cavities. We’d be happy to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.