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Breastfeeding and Your Baby’s Teeth: Part One

February 10, 2016

Breastfeeding is one of the first (and most personal) decisions a mother can make for her baby. It can help your baby’s body fight infections, and reduce health risks like asthma, ear infections, SIDS, and obesity in children. Did you know that breastfeeding can impact the dental health of both baby and mom? Check out these first few facts in this month’s series on breastfeeding and your baby’s teeth.

Breastfeeding may help build a better bite.

A June 2015 study from Pediatrics found that babies that were exclusively breastfed for six months were seen to be less likely to develop open bites, cross bites, and overbites than those who either breastfed for less than six months, or not at all. This doesn’t mean your breastfed baby won’t need braces someday, as there are other factors that affect alignment; every child is different, after all! These other factors include genetics, pacifier use, and thumb sucking.

You don’t have to wean when your baby gets teeth!

Common among mothers who breastfeed is the question of whether or not they should stop breastfeeding when my child starts teething? The answer is not if you don’t want to. The mantra here is the same as it was above: every child is different. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of a baby’s life, while the World Health Organization encourages moms to go for two.

Breastfeeding reduces the risk for baby bottle tooth decay.

An additional breastfeeding benefit is reduced risk of baby bottle tooth decay, which is the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that have sure in them. This occurs most often when a baby is put to bed with a bottle, regardless of what’s in it (besides water).

These are just the first three health facts about breastfeeding and your (and your baby’s) health. Stay tuned for part two!

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