Given the possible expense of dental braces and additional orthodontic procedures, who would not want to give their baby every potential advantage when it comes to healthy bite alignment? Several studies — the latest of which was published inside the August 2017 Journal of the American Dental Association issue — have connected breastfed babies with better bite alignment. According to that research, babies who are breastfed for the initial 6 months are less prone to alignment problems such as overbites, crossbites, and open bites.
That is not to say that by breastfeeding your children, they’ll have aligned teeth and never need orthodontic correction. There are several additional factors which affect alignment, which includes behavior and genetics.
Another dental benefit related to breastfeeding is a decreased risk of something known as bottle tooth decay. This is a problem connected to using baby bottles. When an infant is fed a bottle of formula, milk, fruit juice, or any liquid containing sugar, it can increase the risk for infant tooth decay due to the way the liquids can pool around the teeth. Parents who place a child to bed with a baby bottle to help them go to sleep through the night actually may place that baby at the greatest risk for tooth decay since the sugary liquid can pool around the teeth for an extended period of time, feeding plaque-causing bacteria. It is also worth noting that just because a little one’s teeth may not have erupted yet does not mean a risk for decay does not still exist.
When it comes to the dental health of children, breastfeeding provides many benefits. However, at the end of the day, it is a highly personal decision. Speak with your doctor and/ or your child’s pediatrician if you need guidance.
Moms, Do Not Forget About Yourself
Consumed with all that comes along with caring for a new baby, it’s not uncommon for moms to forget about their own health and well-being. Lapses in day-to-day routines like rinsing with mouthwash, flossing, or teeth brushing at night are not uncommon, which leaves moms at higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Also, these problems raise the risk of passing bacteria to your baby if you share a kiss or a spoon.
Talk to your dentist about best practices after and during pregnancy to assist in ensuring optimal health for both you and your baby.