How To Protect Your Baby’s Teeth when BreastfeedingMarch 9, 2020 6:30 am
If you are breastfeeding your child, then you know you’ve made a good call. While breastfeeding doesn’t suit all new mums, it can help your child’s development as well as building a bond between baby and parent.
- Taking care of baby
Even before teeth start to show, it’s important to make sure baby’s mouth is kept clean. Wipe gums with a soft, damp washcloth, a piece of gauze or a cotton ball once or twice a day. This will make sure that excess food and sugar is removed. It’s also a great idea to get into a routine early on, so it’s easier to remember to brush teeth later.
- Night feeds
Many breastfeeding mums will want to use a bottle for at least some of the time. If you are using a bottle then it’s best to avoid night-time feeds where possible, as the increased contact between teeth and milk can lead to decay.
- Avoiding later problems
Studies have shown that breastfed babies are less likely to have misaligned teeth later on, with problems like overbite or crossbite being rarer too. This is thought to be because breastfeeding encourages the right development of bones and muscles in and around the mouth – whereas bottles and pacifiers can negatively affect the development of teeth. So, avoid using pacifiers after the first six months, when teeth start to develop.
- What about weaning?
The World Health Organisation recommends that mums breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, and start to introduce food after that. It’s very important to choose the right kind of food, as too much sugar can have a negative impact on tooth development even before they begin to show. The modern world unfortunately offers plenty of highly processed foods and it’s best to avoid these. Cereals are often the first stop, moving afterwards to liquidized fruit and vegetables.
- Baby teeth
When teeth start to show at around one year old, make sure you brush them twice a day with a toothbrush and a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste. Encourage your baby to drink sips of water, and avoid any kind of sugary drinks like juices. Fluoride is a hot topic, and if you’re a mum in Dubai relying on bottled water, you may be considering a supplement. While it’s hard to overdose on fluoride, it is a possibility – and one that could damage teeth. It’s best to talk to a dental professional at Drs. Nicolas & Asp before making a decision.
- When should I stop breastfeeding?
While it’s important to be aware of your baby’s dental health, the general wisdom is that it’s OK to continue breastfeeding up to two years of age. Just make sure that once teeth start to show, they are being cleaned. Breastfeeding by itself isn’t going to cause tooth decay, but a poor hygiene routine isn’t going to do your child any good either.
- Taking care of you
Having a baby changes your life. In the midst of that, it’s easy to overlook your own dental health. However, it’s more important than ever to look after your teeth. Make sure you brush twice a day, and floss frequently. Be careful of sharing utensils with your baby, as any bacteria in your mouth might be passed on – it’s better to be safe than sorry. Visit the dentist every six months and once baby’s teeth start to show, take them to see a specialist pediatric dentist at Drs. Nicolas & Asp too.
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