WHO and other health authorities highly recommend breastfeeding for newborns for its extensive benefits to both mother and infant. Known as liquid gold, breast milk offers a myriad of health protections. It not only safeguards against allergies and eczema but significantly reduces the risk of viruses, infections, and possibly Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). But did you know? There’s a critical connection between breastfeeding and a baby’s oral health. Let’s explore this significant link in today’s discussion.
Nutritional Power of Breastfeeding
As advised by WHO and UNICEF, newborns should be breastfed within the first hour of birth and exclusively for the initial 6 months. This practice ensures the baby receives vital nutrients essential for robust growth and development, especially for healthy gums and teeth. Breast milk is a powerhouse of fatty acids to combat inflammation and proteins for jaw strength, along with vital oral health vitamins.
Reduced Tooth Decay in Breastfed Babies
Babies can face tooth decay, with bottle-fed infants being especially susceptible due to longer exposure to sugars. Conversely, breastfeeding minimizes this exposure and equips babies with antibodies to fight off harmful mouth bacteria, thus significantly lowering the risk of tooth decay. These natural defenses ensure your child maintains a healthier smile.
Better Bite Alignment through Breastfeeding
Research reveals a strong link between exclusive breastfeeding and improved dental alignment, reducing the likelihood of dental complications such as overbites and crossbites. This benefit is most pronounced in babies breastfed for at least six months compared to those who are bottle-fed or breastfed for shorter periods.
Post-Oral Surgery Breastfeeding: Is it Safe?
There’s no substantial evidence against continuing breastfeeding post oral surgeries like tooth extractions. Generally, the effects of sedation or anesthesia used during such procedures dissipate rapidly. However, consulting with your pediatrician and dentist is advisable for personalized guidance.
Oral Thrush and Breastfeeding: Understanding the Link
Both mothers and babies can experience thrush, a candida infection during breastfeeding. This condition might lead to discomfort and necessitates immediate medical attention from a dentist or pediatrician to ensure proper treatment and continued breastfeeding safety.
Guidelines for Breastfeeding Mothers on Oral Health
Good oral hygiene begins even before the baby’s first tooth emerges. Dental experts recommend that mothers gently clean the baby’s gums post-feeding to eliminate bacteria. As teeth appear, initiate gentle brushing with a soft brush, a dab of fluoride toothpaste, and incorporate flossing. Schedule the first dental visit by the first birthday, and instill healthy eating habits to lessen sugar intake. For any questions or to schedule an oral health consultation, call 800-250-3500. Discover more and book a session here.