If there’s one question that tends to produce a lot of conflicting opinions, it’s whether or not to breastfeed. While there is strong evidence showing that breastfeeding is best for your child, it may not be best for you. Another consideration while deciding how to feed your baby is the impact you may have on their oral health. We intend to opine on that topic in the article below. Once you’ve read through you’ll be able to make an educated decision on the best dental choice for your child.
The Truth, and The “Truth” About Bottle vs Breast
When considering the oral health of your children, it would be easy to simply stay that breastfeeding is best. However, that paints an incomplete picture of the facts surrounding your feeding choice and their oral health. The fact is that neither type of feeding your baby is better or worse for their dental health. However, if you’re considering bottle feeding there are steps you need to take to ensure this is true. Breast milk tends to bypass the teeth entirely and doesn’t pool in the baby’s mouth. Both of these points are tied to the need for sucking action to draw out the milk. Without it, the milk ceases to flow. When it is flowing, it tends to skip the front teeth entirely.
Bottle-feeding doesn’t have these benefits. The nipple on the bottle will continue to leak even if your child is no longer sucking. Also, it’s entirely possible for the formula to pool up in the mouth, even on the front teeth. To avoid these concerns, follow the below tips:
- No Bottles In Bed – This is just good advice when it comes to dental care. Leaving the baby in bed with a bottle can let the contents pool around their teeth. While there are other concerns (milk on the sheets, for instance), this is the biggest threat to their teeth. Avoid it by giving them a bottle of water, or nothing at all, at bedtime.
- Clean the Gums – After feeding your baby, take a bit of extra time to cleanse their gums. In most cases, a soft terrycloth towel or damp gauze will work. If they’ve had teeth come in, use a rice-grain-sized dab of toothpaste to scrub their gums and teeth. This will be a good start to caring for their teeth.
- See Their Dentist Regularly – Your child’s first visit to the dentist should happen before they turn 1 year old. After that, it should continue on a six-month. The first visit should, under no circumstances, wait beyond the eruption of the first tooth. The sooner you start ensuring they have consistent dental care, the better.
Following these guidelines will lead to improved oral health for your baby when bottle-feeding. Even when breastfeeding these guidelines are good ones to keep in mind. Especially the brushing of the gums and visits to the dentist.
Your Dentist Is There To Teach You More
If there’s one person your child should become comfortable with to benefit their oral health, it’s their dentist. Building a good relationship with oral care and the people who provide it is a good foundation for a lasting, and beautiful, smile.