How Breastfeeding Impacts Your Child’s Oral Health
Breastfeeding provides countless benefits for both mother and newborn, providing them with the essential nutrients they need to grow, helping develop their immune system against diseases, and protecting against risks such as asthma, ear infections, and obesity. However, breastfeeding can also impact the oral health of both baby and mom. As an important and personal decision, breastfeeding can have a positive impact on you and your baby, and here’s how:
How Breastfeeding Impacts Your Child’s Oral Health
For breastfeeding parents, breastfeeding is a beautiful way to connect and build a relationship with their child, but it can also benefit their child’s oral health. When parents choose to breastfeed their newborn, various studies have shown massive benefits, including:
- Reduces Infant Tooth Decay: Some studies show that breastfed children are less likely to suffer from tooth decay than a child who’s formula fed during the first year of life.
- Reduced Risk of Tooth Alignment: In other studies, breastfed babies were less likely to have tooth alignment issues such as open and cross bites during the first six months. Breastfeeding is reported to provide these benefits compared to baby bottle feeding, as baby bottles can cause a higher risk of tooth decay in infants.
- Avoids Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when the gums and budding teeth are coated in the formula or breast milk liquid for extended periods.
In other cases, however, breastfeeding infants can also be susceptible to tooth decay, depending on the circumstances. In most cases, breastfeeding infants who fall asleep can have unswallowed milk remaining in their mouths and become more vulnerable to tooth decay.
Our Tips to Promote Your Infant’s Oral Health at OC Kids Dental
Because every child and every mother is different, the choice to breastfeed is a personal decision that requires a lot of consideration. Mothers should stop breastfeeding when they think it’s best for them and their baby, and this decision can be best reached through guidance from your pediatric dentist. Some tips we can provide to help ensure good health for your newborn include:
Wipe Your Newborn’s Gums: When breastfeeding or bottle feeding, make sure to wipe the gums at least once a day, from their birthday to their first tooth eruption, to protect their gums from bacteria.
Care For Their Budding Teeth: Make sure to continue wiping their gums and teeth with a damp cloth after their feedings and before bedtime to help them maintain good oral hygiene.
Once Your Infant Has Several Teeth: Once their teeth start to show up, start using water and a soft, child-size toothbrush to clean their teeth, and use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste to help them develop strong, healthy teeth.
It’s important to remember that your infant’s first dental checkup is recommended by their first birthday. At OC Kids Dental, we can provide their first checkup, help care for their budding teeth throughout their childhood, and give them an excellent outlook on their oral health. For more information, please schedule an appointment with us today to get started!
For reasons ranging from reasonable to urban myth, many children have fears of sitting in a dentist’s chair. In many cases, it’s as simple as a fear of the unknown. In others, it can be the result of a bad experience or perpetuated myths about the pain involved with dental care. Regardless of the reason, dental anxiety can make it difficult for people of all ages to get the dental care they need throughout their lives. It’s for this reason that OC Kids Dental has taken special care to provide a safe and welcoming environment for our patients.
How We Help Children That Are Afraid Of The Dentist
Creating good dental experiences early on helps lay the groundwork for a comfortable relationship with dental care for years to come. Dental anxiety, also known as general dental phobia, is more common than you might expect. Nearly 10% of all Americans avoid anything to do with going to the dentist out of fear of the dentist. For many, this isn’t simple anxiety or nervousness but an actual paralyzing fear of anything involved with receiving dental care. Just mentioning going to the dentist can result in a full-on panic attack in some people.
Understanding the fears of our young patients helped us take steps to address them. Below are five common foci of dental phobia:
- Pain – A fear of pain is the most prominent form of dental phobia. This can result from previously painful experiences and is aggravated by the anticipation of future pain. Speaking to your children about these fears, with our team’s support, can help alleviate these concerns and set your child at ease.
- Fear Of Losing Control – Getting into the dental chair can feel like relinquishing any control over what happens to you next. Overcoming this is achieved by ensuring that we give our young patients a sense of agency in their care. We make sure they’re comfortable, tell them what we’d like to do next, get their permission to proceed, and ensure they feel in control of their care.
- Unpleasant History With Dental Care – As we mentioned in the section on pain, these experiences can stay with you. It doesn’t have to be something experienced by the patient. Bad experiences in the family can filter down to the perception children have about their care. Even those shared by schoolmates can cause this kind of fear. As with the other factors on this list, it is best addressed by open and honest communication with our patients.
- Sensory Onslaught – There are so many odd tools that produce strange sensations in the dental office. The high-pitched whine of dental drills, the strange sensation of a scaling tool scraping against the tooth, and uncomfortable gel trays, for instance. Dental lasers help to remove the whine of the rotary dental tool. We also take other steps to produce a relaxing and inviting environment.
Come See OC Kids Dental For An Anxiety-Free Experience
If you have a child that’s afraid of the dentist, bring them to see the team at OC Kids Dental! We’ll introduce them to dental care aimed at making kids smile. We’ll talk to them about their fears, empower them with decisions, and provide an environment that’s soothing and inviting. We look forward to hearing from you!