Breastfeeding and Cavities
Pediatricians recommend breastfeeding for at least six months and up to a year, if possible. Many mothers even choose to breastfeed their babies much longer. Breastfeeding is believed to improve the likelihood of proper jaw development, eliminating the need for wisdom teeth removal. Yet, can you get too much of a good thing?
A recent study published in the July 2017 issue of Pediatrics studied the effect of lengthy breastfeeding among one thousand children in Brazil. Based on their results, they discovered that breastfeeding children for over two years poses a greater risk of childhood caries or cavities, similar to the effects of “baby bottle mouth.” Children breastfed two years or more had almost two and a half times more risk of cavities than children who nursed for a year. The study did not find an increased risk of cavities in children who were breastfed between 12 and 23 months of age, just those over two years.
Dr. Karen Peres, lead researcher of the study said this: “There are some reasons to explain such an association…First, children who are exposed to breast-feeding beyond 24 months are usually those breast-fed on demand and at night. Second, higher frequency of breast-feeding and nocturnal breast-feeding on demand makes it very difficult to clean teeth in this specific period.”
If you have further questions about breastfeeding and dental health, feel free to talk with the dentists at the Placerville Dental Group or your medical doctor. We are happy to help your entire family get the great dental care they need to be happy and healthy.