Breastfeeding and Tooth Decay: Are They Related?

Breastfeeding is essential for babies, it nourishes them with the nutrients they need for a healthy growth and development. But recent studies have shown that breastfeeding a baby after the age of 2 can lead to infant tooth decay.

Researchers have found that 40% of children that are breastfed between the ages of 6 to 24 months have tooth decay and 48% of children breastfed after the age of 2 have tooth decay!

Is it possible that breastfeeding is directly related to early tooth decay?
Mothers should understand first why it could be related.

Breastfeeding has two aspects: the actual milk which is almost harmless to the teeth, and the physical aspect which is the problem that can occur also when bottle feeding.
What happens is that when babies suck from the mother’s breast, their teeth are sealed off and saliva, which helps breakdown bacteria, is prevented from reaching their teeth.

If it is important for mothers to breastfeed after the age of 2, they can do several things to prevent decay, such as brushing their children’s teeth regularly, taking them to their first dental visit early and anything that removes carbohydrates and sugar from oral cavity can help preventing tooth decay.

It is important to know that baby bottles and thumb sucking all have the same effect as breastfeeding. So the solution is never to stop breastfeeding but to maintain a good oral hygiene for your child.