New research indicates that the act of breastfeeding may help prevent the need for braces later.
Whether you breastfeed or not is of course a very personal choice, however there is new research out that has found another positive aspect to breastfeeding your baby: a lower chance of dental issues when they are older. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics, finding that kids who were breastfed only for six months, had lower rates of open bite and malocclusion (crooked teeth) at five years of age, than those who were never or partially breastfed.
Is some breastfeeding better than none?
“The findings are particularly striking because they highlight the advantages to nursing without using bottles on babies’ teeth. Those children who had been exclusively nursed up to six months of age had 44% less instances of overbite and 72% lower prevalence of malocclusion (misalignment) than those who had never breastfed.” // fitpregnancy.com
The study concluded that exclusive breastfeeding up to six months of age reduced the risk of malocclusion. However, it is almost impossible for many American woman to get three months off on maternity leave, but the study also found that moms who bottle fed part of the time but mostly breastfed, still had lower instances of teeth problems.
How breastfeeding helps form baby’s mouth
What it is in fact, is the act of your baby moving her jaw on the breast that results in proper formation of the mouth, which affects adult teeth, and thus reduces the need for braces later on.
“Unlike bottle-feeding, a breastfed baby moves her tongue and jaw in ways that mold the palate and oral cavity so even before a baby breaks her first tooth, breastfeeding helps lay the proper foundation for tooth alignment.” // fitpregnancy.com
The study was focused on baby teeth, but they said that problems with primary teeth typically lead to problems with adult teeth, and the need for braces.
The study also concluded that pacifier use reduced the noted benefits of breastfeeding, like two steps forward and one step back. But in saying that, those babies who were exclusively breastfed were found to be far less likely to use pacifiers much in the first place.
The detriment of pacifier use has to be weighed in against their benefits in reducing the risk of SIDS, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Also though, breastfeeding itself has been proven to decrease the risk of SIDS.
“Although this may seem to be just one more thing to guilt moms into exclusive nursing, it shouldn’t be. Moms have much to consider when deciding whether to breastfeed and whether to use a pacifier, and this new information should be just one of the contributing factors to those choices.” // fitpregnancy.com
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