Fables and misconceptions have always run rampant, sometimes even running as fast as a wildfire through dry brush. The problem has gotten worse in the last few years, especially now that we have the Internet. The worst part is that most of these old wives tales contain just a smidgeon of truth, just enough to make people who read them actually believe them. It is this partial truth that turns these beliefs into a fact (at least for many people.) One such, half-truth is the belief that breast milk, especially when breastfeeding a child in bed at night causes tooth decay. To debunk this idea we have enlisted the help of our associates at All Smiles Dental.
All Smiles Says the Problem is the Baby Bottle
While it is certainly true that giving a baby regular formula in a bottle to go to sleep is damaging to the child’s oral health, there is no real valid link between breastfeeding (at any time) and cavities. Sure, babies who breastfeed can can get cavities, but this is not a consequence of being fed mother’s milk. Despite these findings, it is important for Mom to perform good dental hygiene on the baby’s teeth.
Before we became accustomed to using a formula, babies rarely experienced tooth decay. This may be indicative that breast milk does not cause cavities or caries n children.
All Smiles Dental Group says that a primary reason for this excessive tooth decay in infants, is that bottles filled with formula can cause liquid pooling in the baby’s mouth. Formula or juice in baby bottle tends to bathe the baby’s gums in sugar for hours, whereas breast milk does not stay in the baby’s mouth like formula. This is because mother’s milk doesn’t flow unless the baby sucks it out. Also, when a baby suckles mothers milk, it flows behind the teeth.
Bacteria Is The Problem
All Smiles dental group told us that it is the bacteria that causes the problem. Bacteria called Streptococcus mutans is the primary cause of the tooth eroding caries. The bacteria eat sugar, starches and carbohydrates, and then they produce an acid byproduct, which directly causes tooth cavities. Strep mutans love the combination of not enough saliva and sugar, and this produces caries.
Parents can minimize decay by cleaning the baby’s mouth out with a soft, clean cloth. Avoid placing unclean fingers in your child’s mouth, and refrain from kissing your child directly on the mouth. Note that sharing foods like ice, ice cream, fruit and any other food can also increase your child’s risk of acquiring the bacteria even before he gets his first teeth.
Your baby can get this
bacteria through saliva transference from a parent or sibling. You want to prevent this transfering by avoiding or minimizing the sharing of baby utensils and saliva to saliva contact.
In Conclusion, we learned from All Smiles that mother’s milk does not cause dental caries. However, infants exclusively breastfed can get decay from other sources. Babies get this bad bacteria from parents or caregivers who are not careful with sharing food, kisses and tools from mouth to mouth. The best way to protect your infant is to take him to a first dental visit just as soon as the first teeth erupt. This is at the age of about 7 to 10 months.