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October 31, 2018 2 min read

Dr. Ellis here for Oral Care Club, answering a question about breastfeeding and infants teeth. Okay, there have been lots of studies done on breastfeeding and how it affects the teeth of the newborn. I'm not talking about the overall health of the newborn as far as nutritional benefits goes. I'm just talking about the teeth, and first all, obviously, newborns don't have teeth, but what needs to happen is after breastfeeding a newborn it's best, it's recommended that with a warm, wet washcloth that the gums are kind of wiped off to keep the levels of sugars down in the mouth. Now, I know some of you may be saying, well, this is breast milk, so it's all natural and everything, and well, sugars. It's all about sugars and there are natural sugars in breast milk. It's like eating an apple or a banana.

There are natural sugars in all things and so it's best to keep the sugars out of the mouth to keep the bacteria from reproducing and causing things you don't want to have happen in the mouth. So, best if breastfeeding the newborn to take a wet washcloth once, maybe twice a day, and just kind of wiping down the gums of the baby's mouth. After the child does get teeth then it's absolutely essential that you either use a washcloth again or a little toothbrush to scrub those teeth because natural sugars, and it's all about the sugars. Infants that are breastfeeding can get cavities if that's all they're consuming is breast milk. It's absolutely possible. It's been clinically proven, so you need to make sure that you're taking care of the baby's teeth even if it's simply breastfeeding.

No problems with breastfeeding after the child gets teeth and breastfeeding as far as misalignments, malocclusion of teeth. In fact, there's been studies that have shown that women that breastfeed for over six months the, at least for six months, that the child has a decreased rate of needing braces. Something about the natural shape of the breast and the child and the way they attach and all these kind of things versus bottles and pacifiers and all that other stuff that's artificial.

So, studies have shown the children that are breastfed for at least six months have a decreased rate of needing orthodontic in the future. Obviously, many more things will apply to that, but that is a plus for breastfeeding of the children at the beginning. So, breastfeeding's absolutely fine. It's not 100%. Make sure you take care of your child's teeth and a little caveat at the end. More than six months can decrease your rate of actually needing to get orthodontic care in the future. Have a good one.