Kids Who Breastfed For Over 2 Years Have Higher Risk Of Tooth Decay — New Study

Mon, March 17, 2014 5:20pm EST by 7 Comments
Breastfeeding Leads Tooth Decay

A shocking new study shows that 48% of children who were breastfed after the age of 2-years-old have tooth decay. This is due to the fact that a baby’s teeth are sealed off while it is breastfeeding, which prevents saliva from breaking down bacteria for extended periods of time.

New research suggests that babies who are breastfed are more likely to suffer from tooth decay as they age. Will this type of information prevent you from breastfeeding in the future?

Breastfeeding Causes Tooth Decay

While doctors encourage mothers to breastfeed because it is the best nutritional choice that can be made for a baby, a new study reveals that there are negative side effects as well.

U.S. researchers led by Benjamin Chaffee at the University of California, Berkely, studied over 458 babies in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Most of the babies involved in the study were old enough to begin eating sold foods, but they were still being breastfed by their mothers.These babies got check ups by the research team at 6, 12, and 38 months old.

The study found that about 40% of the children who were breastfed already had some tooth decay by the end of the study. At least 48% of the babies who were breastfed more frequently for longer periods of time also had tooth decay.

Doctors have found that the reasoning for this is that babies teeth are often sealed off while a baby is feeding on a nipple, which means that the saliva cannot access the teeth and break down bacteria like normal.

Parents Should Try Different Tactics To Keep Babies Teeth Clean

Even though breastfeeding may be the cause behind tooth decay in small children, doctors say it is easy for mothers to start new hygienic habits for their babies.

Parents can use a dampened cloth to wipe a baby’s teeth and gums clean before and after a meal. Doctors also report that it’s very important to make sure no excess food remains in a baby’s mouth after eating, as this can cause a tartar build up at a very early age.

It’s also been suggested that parents consult with their pediatrician for different teeth-cleaning tactics for infants and toddlers.

Tell us, HollyMoms — What do you think of this new study showing that breastfeeding causes tooth decay? Let us know your thoughts below!

– Lauren Cox

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Posted at 12:17 PM on March 27, 2014  

Nowadays most mothers don’t use breastfeeding, they commonly use commercial baby milks but I don’t find breastfeeding as a cause to tooth decay. I still recommend breastfeeding for my future baby, I won’t compromise my son’s overall health because of this.

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bf fan

Posted at 2:46 PM on March 19, 2014  

If one is not interested in breastfeeding why don’t they just shut up and close their door behind them instead of spreading lies to discourage breastfeeding. Why do people feel threatened by breastfeeding? Breast milk contains antibodies that protect the child against disease so how does the tooth decay occur. I think those who hate the natural means of feeding children (breastfeeding) should look for something better to do and stop wasting precious resources to stop people from following a naturally endowed process. You are better off using those resources giving to the poor than spreading unproductive heresies.

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Posted at 11:35 AM on March 19, 2014  

This is a completely bogus study. Childhood caries are extremely high today in every group, where is the control group in this study??? Breast feeding alone Does Not cause tooth decay! Any other study (and there are many) will tell you that. In fact breastmilk has antibodies which kill strep mutants (bacteria often implicated). Please stop spreading misinformation! It is difficult for moms to choose breast feeding already due to lack of support. Breastmilk is a lifeline for a child, contains immunoglobulins, antibodies, even stem cells. There is nothing superior to it for a child, esp not formula or cow milk. Think before you post garbage like this.

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Posted at 8:51 AM on March 18, 2014  

@JJ shut up no they are not The World Health Organization and CDC recommend nursing a child for at least two years if possible unless there are medical reasons that prevent it and it decreases a mothers risk of Breast Uterine Cervical and endometrial cancers 8% for each 18 month period she breast feeds one of her children the late Maria Cole once admitted to nursing her daughters until they were each 22 months that would be from February 1950 to December 1951 and January 1961 to November 1962 and the younger pair were twins plus nursing her adopted son for 19 months February 1959 to September 1960 when she was 5 months pregnant with the twins. studies like this are alarmist

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Posted at 6:02 PM on March 17, 2014  

Uh, women who breastfeed their kids long after they have teeth are a bit on the wonky side.

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Breastfeeding mom

Posted at 6:48 PM on March 18, 2014  

My daughter got teeth at 5 months old so I should stop breastfeeding her and let her starve??

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Posted at 7:20 AM on March 19, 2014  

No read the freaking article. It suggests ways to clean their teeth. Way to be overdramatic you annoying breastfeeding nazi.

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