When you have a baby and have decided to breastfeed, in general everyone supports your decision, even praises it. But if you keep it beyond six months, when the teeth have already come out, some people may tell you that you are going to have cavities from continuing to breastfeed. Are they right or is it just one of many myths? Does breastfeeding cause cavities in the baby? Let's see!
Tooth decay occurs when, after meals, glucose remains stuck to the teeth. The bacteria present in the mouth 'feed' on these sugars and produce acids that demineralize the enamel and injure the tooth. Therefore, for cavities to occur, it is necessary:
- Let there be teeth (evident!)
- That there are cariogenic bacteria. These bacteria can enter the baby's mouth unintentionally when one of their caregivers has cavities and tastes their food or blows it to cool it, gives a kiss on the mouth, shares cutlery ...
- Foods rich in sugars, which are deposited as glucose on the teeth. Although they are not recommended, it is common for babies to be exposed to these foods from an early age, such as baby food or infant cereals.
- The time the bacteria are attached to the tooth,that is, the time that passes between eating and hygiene, although it also depends on how 'sticky' the food is and how many times we are exposed to it.
- Individual predisposition factors to caries: enamel defects, amount of saliva, dental defects, etc.
The sugar present in breast milk is lactose, which is the least cariogenic sugar that exists. Breast milk has substances that prevent bacterial growth and promote remineralization by facilitating the deposit of calcium and phosphorus in the enamel.
In addition, the 'mechanics' when breastfeeding makes the contact between breast milk and teeth is minimal, since the nipple is located at the back of the mouth and the milk is deposited in the back area and swallowed quickly. And if the baby falls asleep during the feeding, the milk stops flowing when the suction stops.
And not only that, it has been seen that breastfeeding reduces the risk of malocclusion, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and other harmful oral habits, such as thumb sucking. So it positively influences the general oral health.
When babies continue to drink bottles at night, the risk of tooth decay is increased because all of these protective factors are not present.
With all that we have said, we could summarize that breastfeeding not only does not cause tooth decay, but it even prevents it. So, Why do many babies have cavities from a very young age? Because, as we have seen, many other factors influence cavities, regardless of whether or not you breastfeed, such as poor dental hygiene and the intake of sugary foods.
So, if you have decided to breastfeed your son or daughter, you can continue doing it as long as you want without being afraid of tooth decay. If you maintain good hygienic-dietary habits, you can enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding as much as you want!
You can read more articles similar to The truth about whether breastfeeding causes cavities in your baby, in the category of On-site Breastfeeding.