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Breastfeeding And Child Dental Decay: 3 Ways To Reduce The Chance Of Early Cavities

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Many new mums choose to breastfeed their child because it is a cost-effective way to make sure their child gets the healthy nourishment they need to thrive. As the mother of a baby who is over six months old and still breastfeeding, it is important that you are aware of the impact breastfeeding can have on the early decay of your child's baby teeth. While breastfeeding is encouraged up to the age of 12 months (and beyond if desired by you), you need to take steps to ensure your breast milk does not lead to cavities. These are the points you need to know.

Why Does Breast Milk Decay Baby Teeth?

A professor at the University of Adelaide recently commented on a study done about cavities in children five years and younger. The study showed that children breastfeed past the age of two had a higher risk of severe cavities compared to those children who stopped breastfeeding at 12 months.

The professor pointed out that one of the problems is that the sugar in the breast milk remains in the mouth after breastfeeding the child at night. The child's teeth are not brushed and the mouth not rinsed after a night feed occurs, so the natural bacteria in the mouth feed on the milk's sugar and begin to create decay.

How To Reduce The Dental Decay Issue

If you plan to breastfeed your baby after their baby teeth erupt, there are several ways you can reduce the chance of cavities and decay happening. These prevention methods include:

  1. Get your baby to drink water after a feed to flush the mouth of milk and its sugars. If they don't have room in their tummies for water, wipe over their teeth with a damp facecloth to remove the milk residue.
  2. Use a soft facecloth or a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean baby's teeth twice a day.
  3. Monitor the amount of sugary food and snacks they eat during the day. Because there is already sugar in your milk supply, too much sugar in the rest of their diet will increase the chance of dental decay.

Now that you are aware that your baby's chances of dental decay increase the longer you breastfeed them, you can take the steps outlined above to lower the odds of this occurring. If you have any further questions about dental decay while breastfeeding, talk to your local dentist, as they are the best source of information about caring for your baby's teeth.