If you breastfeed your children for two or more years, they can develop dental cavities, the study says. So, is breastfeeding linked to tooth decay?
In the study published in 2017, researchers analyzed sugar consumption and breastfeeding behaviors for children in Brazil. Then children visited a dentist who examined their teeth for caries, decayed teeth or any other cavities. Among all children in the study, almost 24% had severe cavities and almost 50% had one tooth affected by caries. Researchers found that children who were breastfed for 2 years or longer had 2.4 times higher risk of developing cavities compared to children who were breastfed for a shorter period of time.
One of the authors of the study said that the main reason is that when you breastfeed older children, it is difficult to properly clean their teeth afterward. They also stated that frequent breastfeeding and the amount of sugar eaten all increase the risk for captivities.
The study also found that there are socioeconomic characteristics that increase the risk of having tooth decay. Families with lower income are more likely to have children with severe captivities. Other studies, however, couldn’t find the link between breastfeeding and dental captivities in children of different age, stating that prolonged breastfeeding is not the main reason for dental problems.
The authors of the study also said that it was conducted in Brazil and results may not be applicable to other countries. They stated that suggestions could be made only for families with similar behavioral patterns and socioeconomic situation. Besides, water in Brazil contains fluoride, which prevents tooth decay.
But there is another study that found that babies are 70% less likely to develop crooked teeth if they are breastfed for six months. Prolonged breastfeeding can also cause the condition known as baby bottle tooth decay, which affects children who are exposed to sugary drinks for a long period of time. It can also appear if a baby is put to bed with a bottle.
According to The American Academy Of Pediatrics, breastfeeding is very healthy for babies younger than one year but mothers can continue for longer if they feel it’s the right thing to do. The World Health Organization states that breastfeeding for up to two years old is healthy. Besides, it is beneficial not only for a child but also for a mother.
With breastfeeding, babies get vital nutrients for the healthy development while reducing risks of diseases, viruses, and infections. Breastfeeding also helps mothers return to their pre-pregnant weight faster and reduce risks of breast cancer.
How to Prevent Captivities in Children
Even though studies show breastfeeding has some negative effects on tooth health, there are effective ways to prevent captivities. Since breast milk contains sugar, you need to make sure you’re brushing baby’s teeth twice a day and with fluoride toothpaste. And you should regularly visit your dentist.
You should visit the dentist when the first tooth comes in. Parents should also take good care of their teeth because if they have captivities and share a spoon with a baby the bacteria can pass along.
Education Is Key
What we can recommend to mothers is to educate themselves, because the more educated the mother, the less likely the child is to develop captivities and other problems. Whether you breastfeed or not, education plays a bug role in raising a healthy kid.
What the new study shows is that breastfeeding has a lot of benefits for both a child and a mother but if you choose to breastfeed after 24 months, you should employ preventative methods to avoid tooth problems.