Most Hendricks County moms know breastfeeding is linked to having healthier babies. The research clearly shows the health and nutritional benefits your baby can receive from drinking breast milk. But did you know breastfeeding offers other positive effects on your child’s dental health?

Breastfeeding Helps Your Child Develop a Better Bite

A 2015 study published in Pediatrics found that babies who were exclusively breastfed for six months were 72% less likely to have crooked teeth. This means these babies were less likely to develop open bites, cross bites, and over bites compared to infants who were breastfed for less than six months or not at all.
According to experts, the reasons why breastfed babies have a lower risk of developing misaligned teeth or jaws is due to the muscle mechanics required during breastfeeding. Unlike feeding with a bottle, a breastfed baby uses their jaw, tongue and facial muscles in a more coordinated way which helps to strengthen the baby’s jaw muscles. A stronger jaw creates a better foundation for proper alignment of a child’s teeth.
However, just because you’re breastfeeding your baby, that doesn’t mean they won’t need braces when they’re older. Other factors, like genetics, pacifier use, and thumb sucking, can affect the alignment of your child’s teeth, too. Therefore, you should limit your child’s pacifier use and thumb sucking habits.

Breastfeeding Decreases the Risk of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Another benefit of breastfeeding your Hendricks County baby is, your child has a reduced risk of developing baby bottle tooth decay. This type of tooth decay often occurs when an infant is placed in bed with a bottle of formula, milk or fruit juice. The baby will often fall asleep with the bottle in their mouth, which exposes their teeth to the sugars in the liquid for a longer time. This type of tooth decay often occurs in a baby’s upper front teeth. However, your child’s other teeth may be affected, too.

Breastfeeding Can Still Cause Cavities

Just like formula, breast milk contains sugar. Therefore, you need to take care of your infant’s teeth and gums beginning shortly after birth. Make sure to burp your baby after every feeding to reduce the chance of breast milk pooling in their mouth. Every day, wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or soft washcloth. Once your infant’s teeth start to come in, brush them with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

Typically, your baby’s primary teeth will start coming in around 6 months of age. Contact Danville Family Dentistry, located in Hendricks County, to schedule your child’s first dental appointment. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends you take your child to the dentist within six months after their first tooth comes in or by the time they reach one-year-old.
If you have any questions about your baby’s dental health, call us at 317-745-4400. Start your baby’s teeth on the right path for a healthier smile that lasts a lifetime.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.