Are you a new parent? You likely know the incredible advantages breastfeeding offers to a newborn, but did you know there are immense benefits in connection to nursing and oral health in Katy? As you navigate these early days of parenthood, read on to find out how this natural act can improve your baby’s smiles for years to come.
The Possibility of a Better Bite
Before you start thinking that breastfeeding is a guaranteed way to avoid costly orthodontics in the future, don’t get too excited. While some studies show that bite alignment issues were less common in infants who were exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, this does not mean that your child won’t require braces at some point in the future. Everything from pacifier use, thumb sucking, and genetics can play a role in the development of their bite. As a new parent, it is in your best interest to schedule your child’s first dentist’s appointment when their first tooth erupts or before they reach the age of 1. This will ensure a professional can monitor tooth eruption and detect any potential problems early on.
Reduced Risk for Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
If you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, one common problem you can easily avoid is the potential for what is known as baby bottle tooth decay. Infants who are given containers filled with juice, formula, or milk before bed can develop tooth decay much quicker, as these contain sugar. When bad bacteria is introduced to sugary substances, it begins to feed, causing plaque and harmful acid to eat away at the tooth enamel. Over time, it can cause the calcium in your baby’s teeth to collapse, resulting in cavities. If you do choose to give your child a bottle before bed or throughout the day, you can do two things: make sure to clean their gums and clean immediately after they’ve finished their bottle and/or choose to give them water instead.
Cleaning Teeth Regularly Reduces Cavities
If you think breastfeeding alone will keep decay and cavities away, you’ll want to carefully read this section. No matter how you choose to feed your baby, it’s imperative that you regularly clean their gums and teeth early on. Breastmilk contains sugar just like formula and regular milk. This is why after you are finished feeding your baby, you should use a clean, damp washcloth to wipe their gums. Even if they only have a few teeth that have erupted, make sure to use a finger brush or soft-bristled toothbrush (with a smear of fluoride toothpaste) to clear away any remnants that can remain on the teeth and eat away at tooth enamel.
There is no doubt that breastfeeding offers substantial benefits to growing babies, but no matter how you choose to feed your infant, make sure to talk to a pediatric dentist in Katy who can provide helpful tips to keep their developing smiles in optimal shape.
About the Author
Dr. Adeel Khan is a board-certified pediatric dentist in Katy, TX. Having received his Doctor of Dental Medicine at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine and graduating Magna Cum Laude, he promises to provide his patients with accessibility, affordability, expertise, and fun appointments thanks to his animated personality. Also, Dr. A and his team are available to provide parents with helpful tips and techniques to make oral hygiene easier at home for growing children. Visit our website or call (832) 789-8348 for questions or to schedule an appointment.