Prolonged Breastfeeding Could Increase the Risk for Childhood Tooth Decay
A recent study conducted over the course of several years in Pelotas, Brazil suggests that breastfeeding your baby well into the toddler years could increase his or her risk for getting cavities.
Of the children studied, nearly half had decay to some degree. A pattern revealed that those who had breastfed for two years or more were 2.4 times more likely to have cavities than those who breastfed for less than that.
What could cause such a difference?
1. Children fed longer because their mothers felt it was the child's preference were likely to demand to be fed anytime, perhaps more often than necessary.
2. More frequent and demanding breastfeeding schedules make it harder to keep toddlers' teeth clean.
3. Children fed frequently on-demand were likely to also eat at nighttime when toddler mouths should be clean and empty.
Something to Keep in Mind
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed babies and breastfeeding in itself won't cause cavities. Experts recommend that moms limit their toddler's feedings and snacks to five times a day, whether they continue breastfeeding or not. This includes snacks, sweets, and drinks such as juice.
No matter what your baby's age, proper oral hygiene is a must. From the day your child starts nursing, you should get them used to having a clean cloth swabbed on the gums after feedings. As soon as the first tooth comes in, it's time to start brushing and schedule that first dental visit.
Talk with Dr. Gabriela Duares for more on caring for baby's smile. Our office is currently welcoming new dental patients from Addison, Carol Stream, and other surrounding areas!