Breastfeeding is a beautiful way to nourish and care for your baby. It is often recommended by Pediatricians for infants due to its numerous health benefits. Breast milk contains all the necessary nutrients and antibodies that your infant needs for healthy growth and development. One question that many parents have is whether or not breastfeeding can prevent cavities in children’s teeth. The connection between nursing and teeth is a topic that many new and expectant mothers are interested in. The reality is that a variety of things affect your child’s dental health. Let’s explore the relationship between breastfeeding and dental health.
First, it is important to understand how cavities develop. Cavities are caused by a combination of factors, including bacteria, sugar, and acid. When sugar is consumed, the bacteria in the mouth feed on it and produce acid, which can erode the tooth enamel over time. This erosion can eventually lead to the formation of a cavity. Though breast milk does contain sugar, it is not the same type of sugar that is found in other sweetened drinks and foods. Breast milk contains lactose, which is a type of sugar that is not as harmful to your baby’s teeth as other sugars.
Why is breastfeeding important
Breast milk is important for the baby’s health and development as it contains a perfect balance of nutrients that are essential for growth and development. The health advantages of breastfeeding are extensive, and this is especially true if your infant is exclusively breastfed during the first six months of their life without the use of formula. Antibodies that support your baby’s defence against viruses and germs are largely found in breast milk. This is particularly the case with the first milk, colostrum. Together with several other antibodies, immunoglobulin A (IgA) is present in high concentrations in colostrum. Your body begins to produce antibodies when you are exposed to viruses and bacteria. During feedings, these antibodies are eventually transferred to your infant through breast milk. Immunoglobulins shield your baby’s nose, throat, and digestive tract against infection by acting as a barrier. Additionally, breast milk can help promote bonding between you and your baby, and it can have a positive impact on your baby’s emotional development. By promoting good oral health and reducing the risk of dental issues, breastfeeding can help set the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums for your baby.
Breastfeeding prevents Baby-Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby-Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD) is a significant contributor to baby dental cavities and may later significantly affect permanent teeth. If your baby’s teeth are coated with practically any liquid other than water for an extended period of time, it may result in Baby-Bottle Tooth Decay. Babies who are put to bed with a bottle of formula or juice are most likely to experience it. Children who are breastfed on demand throughout the night and fall asleep with milk still in their mouths after nursing are also vulnerable to tooth decay. Once your baby has dozed off, make it a point to remove your breast from their lips to prevent BBTD. If you are concerned about BBTD in your baby, speak to the best dentist for kids.
Breastfeeding helps your child develop a better bite
The muscular mechanics required for breastfeeding are the reason why breastfed babies are at a lesser risk of developing misaligned teeth or jaws. A breastfed baby uses their jaw, tongue, and facial muscles in a more coordinated manner than a bottle-fed baby does, which helps to strengthen the baby’s jaw muscles. Proper alignment of your child’s teeth is a result of a stronger jaw.
You must remember that just because you’re nursing your infant doesn’t guarantee they won’t require braces later on. Your child’s teeth may be out of alignment due to heredity, pacifier use, and thumb sucking, among other things. Therefore, you must restrict your child’s thumb- and pacifier-sucking behaviours.
Can breastfed babies still get cavities?
Yes, they can! It is important to note that breastfeeding alone is not enough to prevent cavities in your baby. Like formula, breast milk includes sugar despite being natural. Because of this, whether your baby is breastfed or given a bottle, it’s crucial to take care of their teeth right away. Good dental hygiene practices are necessary to maintain healthy teeth and prevent cavities.
- Clean your baby’s gums at least once a day, starting at birth and even before any teeth have sprouted in their mouth to encourage healthy gums.
- Use a piece of gauze or a wet towel to wipe their gums and teeth after meals and before bed to help them maintain proper oral hygiene after their teeth erupt.
- Once your child has several teeth, begin daily brushing with water and a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles and a small dab of fluoridated toothpaste. A small amount of fluoride is beneficial for strong, healthy teeth that are resistant to decay.
- To safeguard your baby’s teeth, your pediatric dentist may also use a topical fluoride varnish when you visit their clinic.
- Your baby should have their first dental examination by their first birthday. This first visit allows the dentist to examine your baby’s teeth and gums for any signs of decay or abnormalities, and to discuss proper dental hygiene practices with you.
The best dentist for kids will play a significant role in supporting breastfeeding by providing education and guidance on how to maintain good dental health while breastfeeding. They can advise on how to minimise the risk of tooth decay in infants by offering tips on feeding practices and oral hygiene. The Pediatric dentist will also identify any potential issues related to breastfeeding, such as tongue tie, that may impact your baby’s oral health. Dr. Yasmin Kottait will work together with you to ensure that both your baby’s dental health and breastfeeding practices are optimised for the best outcomes.
About Dr. Yasmin Kottait: Having dedicated 16 years of her career to spreading smiles and imparting knowledge of oral hygiene to children, Dr. Yasmin is a renowned name and face in the field of pediatric dentistry in Dubai. Her joyful personality and magical kid-whispering powers make dental appointments for kids an easy sail – and lots of fun, that they never miss a single dental appointment with her! Dr. Yasmin is also one of the few Autism friendly dentists in the region, with a diploma in Cognitive Based Hypnotherapy and IBCCES Autism certification.