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Dr. Cynthia Pelley
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Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
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8708 SE 17th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
(503) 235-0313
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Breastfeeding May Lead to Straighter Teeth

Posted on 2/15/2016 by Cynthia Pelley
A baby boy about to be breast fed by his mother.Breastfeeding is one of the best choices that you can make for your child immediately after he is born. While you may be aware of this statement and breastfeed because of the nutritional and immunity benefits, you might not have considered how breastfeeding could be impacting your child's teeth. In fact, an Australian study has recently suggested that breastfeeding could promote proper alignment within the teeth.

Findings from this study were recently published in the July edition of Pediatrics, and researchers studied 1,300 kids over a period of five years. These children were examined at 3, 12, and 24 months, and at 5 years old their teeth were inspected for signs of malocclusion.

The findings from this study showed that moderate to severe misalignment, overbite, and open bite issues were significantly less prevalent with the kids who were exclusively or predominately breastfed. These results reinforce the message from the World Health Organization that strongly encourages exclusively breastfeeding up until a child turns six months of age. However, researchers also found that the use of pacifiers could modify the association.

This study adds to previous research that exclusively breast feeding will reduce the risk of developing malocclusions regardless of whether pacifiers were used, while the effects of predominant breastfeeding where other foods or beverages were introduced did depend on how long pacifiers were used.

It is also important to note that breastfeeding should only be one component in keeping your child's teeth and mouth healthy. You will need to take steps to avoid baby bottle tooth decay and to clean out his mouth properly. Before your baby has teeth, you can use a damp cloth to clean off and massage the gums, and dental hygiene efforts will progress as your child's baby teeth come in.

If you have additional questions on how to keep your child's teeth healthy and straight, contact our office for more information.

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Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry - Cynthia Pelley | | (503) 235-0313
8708 SE 17th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202