New moms have a lot on their plates, and today, it seems like more and more new mothers are struggling to live up to standards set by the social media “supermoms.” Breastfeeding is one of the hot button topics we see, and there’s a lot of conflicting information out there on the subject. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the things moms should know about how breastfeeding affects oral health. We think all of our moms are super moms, so don’t worry – this is a judgment-free post!
Breastfeeding Improves Baby’s Bite & Reduces Risk for Baby Bottle Mouth
Several recent studies have shown surprising correlations between breastfeeding and improvements in oral health. One study found that babies breastfed exclusively for six months or longer were less likely to suffer from bite alignment issues like over, under, and crossbite compared with those who were exclusively breastfed for a shorter time or not at all. Additionally, breastfed infants are less likely to suffer from baby bottle mouth. This term refers to the increased decay and damage to front teeth for babies who fall asleep while drinking out of a bottle. The sugary formula or milk sits in the mouth overnight increasing the risk for tooth decay.
However, Breastfed Babies May Still Have Cavities
Many parents mistakenly believe that breast milk doesn’t contain sugar and won’t decay baby’s teeth. While breast milk is less sugary than formula and other milk products, there are still some sugars that can lead to tooth decay. It’s important to start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they erupt to remove sugars and plaque and avoid tooth decay.
You Don’t Need to Cease Breastfeeding After Teeth Erupt
Many moms wonder if they should stop breastfeeding when kids begin to develop teeth. It’s a natural concern, and for many moms, after the first teeth erupt is the right time to start weaning. Some researchers indicate breastfeeding up to one year is ideal. Others recommend two years of breastfeeding. The truth is, no child or parent is just like any other. You should begin weaning your child when it feels right for you.
Don’t Forget Your Smile!
Our final tip may seem like it’s the easiest one, but it’s the one most new moms neglect – taking care of themselves. It’s hard to make time for your own oral health, rest, and other needs when you’re caring for an infant, but it’s still important. Make time whenever possible to take care of yourself, and never feel like you can’t ask for help – Supermom or not! It takes a village to raise a happy, healthy child, so lean on your village when you need them.
Meet the D&G Dental Team
At D&G Dental, we are dedicated to helping patients of all ages achieve healthy, happy smiles. When it’s time for your little ones to visit us for their first children’s dentistry appointment (around the age of one or following the eruption of the first tooth), we hope you’ll bring them in to see the D&G Dental team in West Orange or Caldwell. We love working with little ones at all ages to help them learn to care for their smiles. If you ever have questions about caring for your child’s developing teeth, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help with all of your dental care needs.