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

Mon, March 17, 2014 5:20pm EDT by Lauren Cox 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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