Congratulations! Whether you’ve just had your first baby or you are busy growing your family, this is a very special time. For many moms, breastfeeding is an important decision that allows them to bond with their baby and provide the perfect nutrition. Breast milk helps your baby fight infections and reduces many health risks including asthma, ear infections, SIDS and childhood obesity. In addition, breastfeeding can have an affect on your dental health as well as your baby’s. Read on to learn what a dentist in Tysons has to say on the subject.
Breastfeeding and Your Baby’s Bite Development
Not that a breastfed baby won’t ever need braces, but recent studies show that an infant who is only breastfed for the first six months of life is less likely to have teeth alignment issues. These include crossbites, overbites and open bites. Other factors that affect alignment are genetics, thumb sucking and the use of a pacifier.
Should You Wean When Your Baby Gets Teeth?
Not necessarily. First, nursing can be very soothing for a baby that is teething. Secondly, you don’t have to stop breastfeeding just because your baby has teeth. Teeth are not involved in sucking. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages moms to breastfeed for the first year of a baby’s life. Of course, every mom and baby are different, so do what you think is best for you and your baby.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
If you exclusively breastfeed your baby, then you eliminate the risk of baby bottle tooth decay. This happens when a baby’s teeth are over exposed to drinks that contain sugar. This type of decay usually happens if a baby is put to bed with a bottle containing milk, juice or even formula.
A word of caution: this does not mean that a breastfed baby won’t get any cavities. Breast milk is natural, but it does still contain sugar. Therefore, you need to take care of your infant’s teeth even before they have teeth.
Use a soft cloth dampened with water to wipe his or her gums after feeding. When that first tooth appears, dip a small brush in water and clean every day. Save the toothpaste for when your child is old enough to spit.
Check Your Medications
There are some dental procedures performed that require medication. If you are nursing, be sure to check that the medication a family dentist in Tysons prescribes is safe for your baby. Ask you pediatrician or your primary care physician. There are antibiotics you can take that are permissible while you breastfeed.
Also, take good care of yourself while your nursing. Be sure to drink plenty of water every day and eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Finally, remember to brush and floss and see your dentist for regular dental checkups.
About the Author
A graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Dentistry, Dr. Farshad Farhoumand has been providing patients with expert care for nearly four decades. As an active member of the prestigious Seattle Study Club, he’s still eager to expand his knowledge to build on the level of excellence that he’s set at Avanti Dentistry. New moms with concerns about oral health can reach Dr. Farhoumand through his website.