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How Breastfeeding Impacts Your Child’s Oral Health

Woman Bottle Feeding Her Newborn

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!

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