How Breastfeeding Affects the Oral Health of Your Baby

When a baby is breastfed, the breast milk provides essential nutrients they need to develop properly and thrive and this includes their jaw and teeth.

Breastfeeding has proven to have countless benefits for both mother and baby. Most people are aware that breastfeeding protects against eczema and allergies, reduces the risk of certain infections and viruses, and that it can even lessen the threat of SIDS. But breastfeeding can also have positive effects on the oral health of your baby.

Essential Nutrients are Essential!

When a baby is breastfed, the breast milk provides essential nutrients they need to develop properly and thrive. To make sure your baby’s gums and teeth, once the erupt, are strong and healthy, these nutrients are essential. Breast milk contains proteins that help build strong jaw muscles, fatty acids that help reduce inflammation, and vitamins needed for good oral health.

Helps with Bite Alignment

Interestingly, the sucking mechanisms are different for bottle-fed and breastfed babies. In a recent study researches discovered that babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their life were 72% less likely to develop crooked teeth. This is because breastfeeding stimulates muscle tone in the jaw. After all, it requires the use of the jaw muscles more than bottle-feeding.

It’s important to remember though that every child is different. Breastfeeding is not a guarantee that a child will not have orthodontic issues in the future. Many other factors contribute to bite alignments such as pacifier use, thumb-sucking, and genetics.

Decreases Risk of Tooth Decay

Breastfed babies typically have a reduced risk of developing cavities. This is because they are not at risk of baby bottle tooth decay. When a baby is put to bed with a bottle containing milk, formula, or juice, baby bottle tooth decay can develop.

Once your baby begins teething, it’s important to start brushing them with a small, soft toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste at least two times a day. As your child grows, it’s important that they also go to the dentist for regular checkups and teeth cleanings.

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Updated: February 2, 2022

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