Benefits of Breastfeeding For Your Baby’s Oral Health
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends moms breastfeed babies for the first year of life. The benefits of breastfeeding are plentiful, including helping babies fight infections and reducing illnesses and the risk of SIDS and obesity.
But did you know breastfeeding can positively impact the dental health of the baby and mom? A study published in Pediatrics and another in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that babies who were exclusively breastfed for the first six months were less likely to have teeth alignment issues such as open bites, crossbites, and overbites.
“Breastfeeding plays an important role: the infant not only gets additional microbes from breastfeeding, but breast milk contains prebiotics for certain microorganisms and antibodies for others,” said Dr. Kami Hoss, DDS and author of If Your Mouth Could Talk.
Breastfeeding may actually be better for your child’s mouth than formula or bottle-feeding. Studies in both Pediatrics and the Journal of the American Dental Association found that infants who were exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives were much less likely to suffer from bite issues such as open bites, overbites, and cross-bites later on in life.
There are many oral health benefits to breastfeeding your baby, if even for just a few months. This article explores the long-term benefits of breastfeeding on your baby’s teeth and mouth.
Why Is Breastfeeding Beneficial to Oral Health?
Some of the benefits of breastfeeding are well known, and other benefits may be surprising. What many of us know is that breast milk contains nutrients and antibodies that protect babies from infections, promote brain development, and improve the function of the infant’s digestive system.
A perhaps lesser-known fact about breastfeeding is that the shape of a breast as it flattens against the baby’s palate helps the palate develop into the proper shape. Let’s explore more benefits!
Build a Better Bite: In a recent study, researchers discovered that babies who were breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their life were 72 percent less likely to develop crooked teeth.
Reduced Risk of Tooth Decay: Since the baby is not put to bed with a bottle of sugar-filled liquid, breastfed babies tend to be less likely to get cavities.
The Suck: The sucking motion babies make when breastfeeding strengthens a baby’s cheeks and jaw. It also tones the tongue to properly rest on the palate, teaching the baby to breathe through his or her nose.
Deliver Nutrients: Breast milk provides children with the essential nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Breast milk contains fatty acids which reduce inflammation, proteins which help build strong jaw muscles and vitamins needed for good overall oral health.
Antibodies in Breast Milk: Breast milk helps fight back against bacteria in the mouth, and this is why it can counteract the effects of tooth decay.
How Long Do You Need to Breastfeed to Get Oral Benefits?
Dental practitioners have an important role in encouraging breastfeeding as healthy behavior. They will typically encourage exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months and continued breastfeeding combined with solid foods for 12–24 months.
Research shows that the long-term benefits of breastfeeding include helping prevent malocclusions. These findings were reached from 32 studies comprising 23,450 participants. Participants who were breastfed after a year were 60 percent less likely to develop malocclusions compared to those who were breastfed for a shorter period.
For any further questions about the benefits of breastfeeding for babies, contact The Super Dentists and their top-rated pediatric dental care. Come and see for yourself why 1 in every 5 kids in the greater San Diego area is a Super Dentists kid!
To learn more about The Super Dentists, please contact us today at 1 (855) GO SUPER or text us at 1 (844) 765-1234.