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There are certainly benefits for mother and baby to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can aid the baby’s immune system, reduce the risk of asthma and ear infections, and lower the mom’s chances of breast and ovarian cancer. Here is some information related to the oral health of your baby while breastfeeding.
Benefits for your baby’s bite
A study published in a 2017 Journal of the American Dental Association issue revealed that babies who were exclusively breastfed during the first 6 months were less likely to have bite and alignment issues including cross-bites, open bites, and overbites than babies breastfed for less than 6 months or not at all. Breastfeeding doesn’t guarantee your child will not need braces because genetics, thumbsucking, and growth still affect the bite.
You don’t have to wean when your baby gets teeth
Mothers do not have to stop breastfeeding when their baby gets teeth if they don’t want to. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of life. Every child and mother is different so do what you think is best.
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of baby bottle tooth decay
Exclusive breastfeeding prevents exposure to the sugar containing bottle liquids- formula, juice, and milk. This type of decay is usually from the baby being put to bed with a bottle. The take home point is to never let the baby go to sleep with a bottle.
Breastfeeding babies can still get cavities
Cavities are caused by sugar and breastmilk does contain sugar. So, your baby’s teeth must be cared for as soon as they erupt. Even better, the gums should be wiped with a washcloth even before there are teeth. As soon as the first teeth appear be sure to brush them twice per day. Use fluoride toothpaste with just a small smear or the amount of toothpaste equivalent to the size of a grain of rice.
Moms need to take care of themselves
With the craziness that comes with a new baby, mothers often brush less, floss less, and grind their teeth more. In addition, mom’s oral bacteria are spread to the baby. Be sure not to forget about your own oral health and continue to see us for your normal check-ups.