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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 and Your Baby's Oral Health

Posted on 7/10/2016 by Cynthia Pelley
A young baby boy about to be breast fed.If you have an infant, you've probably heard about the benefits of breastfeeding from a variety of sources. Breast milk is the best food source for babies, and it is the only food that they need for the first six months of their lives.

While breast milk is a nutritional gold mine, there are other benefits of nursing that can help with your baby's oral health, specifically when it comes to palate and jaw development.

The Nursing Process
When your baby is nursing correctly, her tongue and facial muscles will be using a rolling motion, meaning it takes more work to receive milk from the breast than it would the bottle. In fact, babies who breastfeed may need to exert up to 60 times more energy in order to get their food than from drinking out of a bottle. The constant pulling involved with strenuous sucking can encourage the growth of healthy and straight teeth as well as properly-formed jaws.

Avoiding Tongue Thrust

A condition called tongue thrust is more common when drinking from a bottle. When using an artificial nipple, your baby might be forced to put his tongue up against the hole so that the formula doesn't rush out too fast.

This can result in tongue thrust, which is an improper swallow that could last into adulthood. By avoiding tongue thrust, you could also avoid other problems in the future, potentially even the need for braces once your child reaches his teenage years.

The oral health benefits associated with breastfeeding are just one of the many reasons that you should consider breastfeeding. If you need any additional tips or guidance on how to breastfeed or the benefits to both you and your child, be sure to speak to contact our office. Your child's future teeth will thank you.

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