825 Grand Avenue, New Haven CT 06511
Telephone: (203) 787-1176
Fax: (203) 787-0397
Breastfeeding and Dental Health
Breastfeeding has proven to have numerous health benefits for your child. Included in those benefits, babies exclusively breastfed for were significantly less likely to have crooked teeth. Studies have proven that babies exclusively breastfed were less likely to develop open bites, crossbites and overbites than babies who breastfed for less than six months, or not at all. Another benefit of exclusive breastfeeding is a reduced risk of “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay”. This type of tooth decay often occurs when a baby is put to bed with a bottle, especially when the bottle contains fruit juice, soft drinks, or sugar water. However, it can even occur when the bottle contains formula or milk.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that your exclusively breastfed baby will have perfect teeth or they won’t need braces someday. Other factors, such as genetics, pacifier use, and thumbsucking, affect tooth alignment. In addition, cavities can still occur with breastfeeding. Natural breast milk, just like formula, contains sugar. Breast-fed or bottle-fed, it is still important to care for your baby’s teeth from the start. To be prudent, the American Dental Association recommends that the mother take the child to the dentist and monitor tooth eruption. It’s important to visit us make sure that baby teeth are coming out at the right time and permanent teeth are coming in at the right time.
We’re often asked if breastfeeding should stop once teeth start to erupt. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of a baby’s life; the World Health Organization encourages mothers to breastfeed for two years. We believe that every child is unique and every mother is different, so moms should stop breastfeeding when they think it is best, not when teeth start to emerge.
If you are breastfeeding and you are planning dental or medical procedures that include medication, check with our office to make sure it is safe for your child.