Breastfeeding and Oral Health

Congratulations! A new member of your family will be entering into the world soon. Choosing whether or not to use breastfeeding is a personal and difficult decision. Always speak to your doctor about the advantages and disadvantages before making a breastfeeding choice. A few advantages for general health are lowered chance of health, infection, SIDS, and obesity risks. Additionally, SmileUP Dentistry would like you to know there are oral health advantages for your developing baby. Here are a few ways:

  1. Lessen the Chance of an Overbite

Compared to children who are not exclusively breastfeeding, those that only used breastfeeding were 33% less likely to develop a crossbite or an overbite. Babies are born with natural rooting reactions that signal a sucking motion when hungry. Using a bottle, a pacifier past six to twelve months or excessive thumbsucking could inhibit the muscles in the mouth from developing properly.

  1. Decrease the Chance of Cavities

Not only do babies who are exclusively breastfeeding develop stronger mouth muscles, they also develop a better ability to breathe through their nose. Breathing through their mouth can reduce the amount of saliva. With more fluid in their mouths, they can wash off the sugars and acids left on their teeth. Therefore, breathing through their mouth when not breastfeeding may decrease the development of cavities. Additionally, a few weeks after birth, wipe the baby’s gums with a wet cloth following eating. Once their first tooth emerges, it is time for their first visit with Dr. Reddy! Remember to use a dab of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) to brush your baby’s teeth twice a day.

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  1. Reduce Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Just like adult teeth, baby teeth can be affected by tooth decay or cavities. Many times cavities occur when sugars are left on the teeth for an extended period of time and turn into acids that break down tooth enamel. Once cavities have formed a hole in your tooth, the progression cannot be reversed and the tooth must be filled. A few ways to prevent tooth bottle decay are: placing only formula, milk, or breast milk in bottles, avoid putting your baby to bed with their bottle, and resist dipping pacifiers or bottle nipples in sugar or honey.

  1. Keep Baby AND Mom Healthy

This is a busy time in your life, and your schedule is not the same as before your baby. Sometimes it can be hard to fit in breastfeeding. However, it is critical that you keep up with your own dental routine. Remember to floss and brush for two minutes twice a day. Ensure that you keep your mouth and your body hydrated. This will help your baby while breastfeeding. A dry mouth can become a breeding ground for cavities, gum disease, and more. These diseases can be spread from you to your baby through sharing a spoon through saliva or harmful bacteria. Taking care of yourself and being as healthy as possible is the first step to improving your baby’s health.

Breastfeeding

There is no one-size-fits-all in parenting, and especially not in breastfeeding. It is important to discuss these decisions with Dr. Reddy and your doctor. If you have more questions about pregnancy or postpartum dental care, please call SmileUP Dentistry at (940)-218-9110. We look forward to hearing from you!

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