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Breastfeeding and Your Baby’s Teeth: Part Two

February 24, 2016

Thought we were done discussing breastfeeding? Think again! We still have loads of information for you in our second and final installment in this series. Here are more facts to keep in mind if you’re considering breastfeeding your baby.

Breastfed babies can still get cavities.

Yet another common question asked by nursing mothers is: Can breastfeeding cause cavities? And the answer is yes, because natural breast milk, just like formula, contains sugar. Either way you swing with this decision, it’s important to put your baby’s teeth health first. A great tip is to start wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth every day, starting a few days after birth. As soon as that first tooth emerges, brush their teeth twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. It might seem small, but it’s enough for a tiny mouth! You’ll be doing everything in your power to prevent cavities.

Need dental work done, mom? Double check your medications.

If you need to have a dental procedure that requires medication while you’re nursing, check with your dentist, personal physician, and pediatrician to ensure that any medication you’ll be taking is safe for your little one. There are antibiotics available that won’t do any harm. As a matter of fact, it’s not only safe to go the dentist while you’re pregnant and nursing, it’s important to do so for the best health of your child. Keep in mind the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Drugs and Lactation Database to search for medications and get information about how it affects your supply and your baby.

And last but not least…take care of yourself, mom! It is often found that moms are not able to take care of themselves as well as they did before giving birth. Moms should be at least doing the basics: brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, seeing their dentist regularly, staying hydrated. Keep your health in mind when you’re thinking of the heath of your child.

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!