It’s no secret that breastfeeding is beneficial to the mother and baby. It helps strengthen the bond between mother and child, provides abundant nutrition, and builds the baby’s immune system. Breast milk contains several antioxidants, antibodies, enzymes, and immunity-building properties to enhance a baby’s health. It also includes a component that naturally soothes the baby (1).
Apart from benefits to the baby, breastfeeding improves physical and emotional health for mothers. It allows faster postpartum weight loss, reduces postpartum bleeding, and stimulates the uterus to return to its original size. It also produces hormones like oxytocin and prolactin that enable positive feelings and stress reduction in mothers (2). These are some of the known benefits of breastfeeding. But did you know that breastfeeding also has an impact on your baby’s oral health? Scroll below to find out more about how breastfeeding affects your child’s oral health:
1. Your Baby Might Have A Better Bite
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, babies who were breastfed up to at least six months after their birth had better teeth alignment. Breastfeeding helps babies develop healthy teeth and reduces their chances of developing issues like open bites, crossbites, and overbites. We aren’t saying that babies who are breastfed for over six months will not need braces in the future. They might because genetics also play a significant role in teeth alignment. However, studies showed that babies who were breastfed for a shorter period were more likely to have these issues (3).
2. Might Reduce The Chances Of A Cavity
No, we are not saying that your baby will not get cavities if they are breastfed. Although natural, breast milk contains sugars just like formula milk and can cause dental problems. However, the chances of developing a cavity are much lower with breast milk than formula milk (4). Even so, it’s essential to take care of your little one’s oral health right from the beginning. Wipe their gums with a clean washcloth every day and brush their teeth twice a day when you start to see their first teeth. Use very little toothpaste (the size of a rice grain) to clean their growing teeth (5).
3. Reduces The Risk For Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
A common complaint for many parents, baby bottle tooth decay, is an issue that can be avoided with breastfeeding. It occurs when the baby’s teeth are frequently exposed to sugary drinks for prolonged periods. When a baby is put to sleep with a bottle in their mouth, it may result in tooth decay. It usually affects the upper front teeth, but other teeth may be affected too (6).
4. Packed With Nutrients
Breast milk contains all the nutrients that a baby needs to develop strong bones, improved immune systems, and better vision. It enhances teeth development and reduces cavities. Breastfeeding also makes babies have fewer speech and orthopedic problems (7). So if you want to spare your child from braces in the future, you know what to do.
5. Improves Jaw Function
One of the most beneficial aspects of breastfeeding is the effect it has on jaw function. Breast suckling enables proper jaw development and function, which is the gateway to the human airway. Feeding bottles, pacifiers, and digit sucking cause deformities in jaws and airways, which could cause complications in the future. Therefore, dentists who understand the positive influence of forward orthopedic forces on the jaws advocate exclusive breastfeeding for at least up to six months (8).
Oral health is essential for every human being and has to be well maintained. It’s not the first time we’ve learned that breastfeeding has numerous advantages but did you know the impact it could have only on your child’s oral health? Comment below and let us know. Share this article with your friends and family and spread the knowledge you’ve received!