Breastfeeding offers a whole host of benefits. It contains all of the essential nutrients that your child needs for proper development. It also provides your child's delicate immune system the protection it needs during those first crucial months. And now, a link has been found between breastfeeding and good oral health.
Helps Develop a Good Bite
Studies have shown that babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives are almost 75% less likely to have crooked teeth or overbites when they are older. Breastfeeding requires the use of more muscles, and helps to tone and strengthen the jaw. It develops the tongue and helps to properly form the palate.
Breastfeeding also helps to encourage nasal breathing and promotes better salivary flow. Both of these are important in preventing gum disease and tooth decay. Mouth breathing and poor salivation both can lead to dry mouth, and a dry mouth is a perfect environment for bacteria. Nasal breathing keeps air out of your mouth and saliva washes away and kills any bacteria that might be hanging around.
Less Risk of Tooth Decay
Babies who are put to bed with a bottle are likely to fall asleep with that bottle in their mouth. The liquid inside, then pools there. Chances are the bottle contains milk, juice, or even expressed breast milk, all of which contain sugar. With this sugar simply sitting in the mouth, and the fact that saliva production naturally slows at night, the teeth are at an increased risk of facing decay.
But breastfeeding doesn't mean your child is immune from decay. Babies who have teeth and wake at night to feed, or fall asleep with the breast still in their mouth, usually don't get their teeth cleaned following their meal.
Lingering breast milk can do the same damage as if they had fallen asleep with a bottle. And if your child is bottle fed and insists on going to bed with one, give them a bottle with water.
While breastfeeding has been shown to promote good oral health, it's not for everyone. Talk to your pediatric dentist about the best way to promote the health of your child's mouth and prevent potential issues.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at Orthodontics: (415) 681-8500 Pediatric Office: (415) 661-8383 today.