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Oral Health and Nursing: What You Need to Know


Posted on 1/15/2016 by Robert Leale
A baby about to nurse to prevent baby bottle tooth decay.Nursing is one of the firs decisions that you'll make for your baby. It can help your baby's body to avoid health issues like SIDS, ear infections, and asthma, and to fight infections. However, many mothers do not know that nursing can actually impact their dental health and the dental health of their child. Here's how.

Breastfeeding Decreases the Risk of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

One great benefit of breastfeeding is the reduced likelihood of tooth decay that results from prolonged, frequent exposure to sugary drinks. This often occurs when a baby is laid down to bed with a bottle of formula, juice, or milk. It frequently occurs to the upper front teeth, but the rest of the mouth could also be affected.

Nursing Can Create a Better Bite

According to a study found in the June 2015 edition of Pediatrics, when babies are breastfed exclusively for six months they were 72% less likely to have crooked teeth. These babies were also less likely to develop overbites, crossbites, or open bites. However, this does not mean that an exclusively breastfed baby will not need to wear braces someday in the future, as other factors like pacifier use, thumb sucking, and genetics could also affect alignment.

Check Your Medications if You Need Dental Work

If you need to have dental work done that requires the use of medication, it is important to check with your dentist if you are nursing. It is crucial that you know that any antibiotics you are given won't hurt your baby.

While it is safe and recommended that you visit the dentist while you are nursing, it is also important that you do so in a way that is best for the health of your baby. You can check out the Drugs and Lactation Database with the U.S. National Library of Medicine to search for meds to find out if they are safe.

Please contact us if you have any questions about nursing and your oral health.
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