Both options have fervent advocates detailing the superiority of their choice—from the claim that breast milk is more naturally nutritious, to those that cite there is little difference in today’s formula content when so many variations are available on the market, to even those that debate the simple convenience of one over the other. As practitioners, we cannot make this decision for you, that choice is always up to you–but, we can help with explaining from a dental standpoint what the benefits are of each, as well as the effects on your baby’s oral health and development.
We all agree that nutrition for a growing little body is of utmost importance. Here is how each one stacks up, when compared on the basis of nutrition.
- Proteins–like casein, which helps build strong jaw muscles
- Fatty acids—which are vital for brain development
- Vitamins—such as calcium–that is needed for dental development
One essential component that breast milk is insufficient in is vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for good oral health as well as the absorption of calcium in the body. For this reason, most nursing moms are recommended to continue their prenatal vitamins and/or advised by their caregiver to maintain a healthy diet throughout nursing their baby. As we mature and grow we absorb vitamin D from sunlight, but with babies that is a risky option, so instead, formula and supplements become a safer alternative. Ensuring these essential nutrients are a part of your baby’s diet is also assisting in reducing tooth decay once those little baby teeth make their appearance.
Facial Growth And Bite
Reseach has shown that the actual motion of the child’s mouth as they breastfeed helps the development of the baby’s jaw and facial structure more than bottle-feeding. Breastfeeding helps give your little one strong jaw muscles and healthy gums which will help to decrease the potential development of a malocclusion or “bad bite” that would require orthodontic treatment in their teen years.
Breastfeeding And Tooth Decay
It is a common belief that it is only necessary to clean baby’s gums after bottle-feeding because formula tends to linger in the mouth, and when the sugars in the milk are left on the gums and new teeth, decay can begin to form easily. Actually, it is JUST as important to clean your baby’s gums after breastfeeding as well! We also recommend avoiding the possibility of “bottle rot” tooth decay by NEVER putting baby to bed with a formula or breast milk bottle.
Whether your choice is to bottle-feed or breastfeed your baby, it is imperative to start the war against tooth decay as soon as possible. The best way is to simply use a soft washcloth or gauze to clean any leftover milk or debris from your baby’s gum’s after feedings. Once teething begins and baby’s new teeth emerge, you can start cleaning their teeth with a grain of rice sized amount of toothpaste on a small child-sized toothbrush.
We are Here for YOU!
We are here to answer any questions you may have about your new baby’s dental health, but we are also here for YOU! As new parents, YOUR oral heath is just as important to us!! Call us to today to make an appointment to ensure your best dental health as well as your precious baby’s!!
For all of your family, cosmetic or restorative dental needs, we invite you to contact Paris Family Dental. Call us today to schedule your appointment at (903) 732-0061! Visit us at 2333 Lamar Ave, Paris, TX 75460 to learn more about our team, our practice, and how we provide excellence in dentistry in our area.