How Breastfeeding Affects Your Child’s Oral Health?

breastfeed and oral health

Breastfeeding for newborn infants is recommended by the WHO and other accredited health specialists. It has been proven to be hugely beneficial for both mother and baby.  Breast milk is also known as liquid gold and is a protective shield for the child against several health problems. Many mothers would know that breastfeeding protects the child against allergies and eczema while lowering the risk of contracting viruses and infections. Some studies have talked about it lessening the chance of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). But are you aware that breastfeeding and oral health are interlinked for the baby? In today’s article, we will discuss this in detail.

Breastfeeding Delivers Essential Nutrients

According to WHO and UNICEF, mothers should breastfeed children within the first hour of birth and for an uninterrupted period of the first 6 months. It is known to provide essential nutrients necessary for the growth and development of the child. These nutrients are crucial for maintaining gums and teeth once it appears. Also, breast milk is filled with fatty acids which neutralize inflammation and proteins for strong jaw muscles. Finally, it contains vitamins necessary for maintaining oral health

Tooth Decay Risk Lowered 

Tooth decay can affect any child but bottle-fed babies are at more risk of developing cavities. This happens because the baby’s teeth have prolonged exposure to sugary beverages due to sleeping with a bottle in their mouth. On the other hand, breastfeeding would lower the chance of tooth decay as babies won’t be exposed to milk for a long time. Also, breast milk contains antibodies that fight against harmful bacteria present in the mouth. These antibiotic effects of breastfeeding fight tooth decay in children and give them a beautiful smile. 

Bite Alignment Improves With Breastfeeding

Plenty of research like Pediatrics in 2015 and one in the August 2017 issue of the American Dental Association journal found a link between breastfeeding and teeth alignment. Babies who are exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life are less likely to face problems like overbites, crossbites, and open bites. The teeth alignment issues would be more prevalent in babies who are breastfed for a short span of time or who are bottle-fed. 

Can I Breastfeed After Oral Surgery

There is no medical evidence to stop breastfeeding after tooth extraction or any oral surgery. If a tooth is to be removed, the mother would be given sedation or an anesthetic injection. Plus, the effects wore off soon as the drug would have been either exhaled or metabolized. Consult your pediatrician and dentist near you for more information. 

Can Breastfeeding Cause Oral Thrush

Thrush (candida) infection in the breast can lead to pain in breastfeeding women. Also, babies being fed breast milk can contract oral thrush in their mouths. In case of such issues, consult your dentist or pediatrician immediately.

Basic Tips or Guidelines for Breastfeeding Moms

Pediatric dental experts advise mothers to practice good oral hygiene before the baby’s first tooth appears. As a matter of fact, a baby’s teeth begin to emerge in the second trimester of pregnancy itself. Also, most babies will have 20 primary teeth at the time of birth and some would be fully developed in the jaw. 

A breastfeeding mother should follow the simple tips:

  • One should gently cross a clean, soft, and damp washcloth over the baby’s gums after every feeding. This will remove harmful bacteria. 
  • Post the tooth’s emergence, use little water, an infant toothbrush, and fluoride toothpaste (almost the size of a grain of rice) to brush the baby’s teeth. 
  • Start flossing gently as the teeth emerge.
  • Teach your child to spit at the time of brushing by the age of two. 
  • Increase the fluoride toothpaste size in brushing to a pea-sized amount.
  • Book your child’s first dental appointment by their first birthday. 
  • Teach your child about good nutrition by decreasing the sugary foods and beverages intake. 

In case of any questions regarding pediatric oral health care or about breastfeeding and oral health, do call us at 800-250-3500. We will do our best to keep the families smiling without any hesitation! Schedule a consultation here