Breastfeeding and Dental Care for mum and baby
Being a mother to a new born can be overwhelming, even if it is not your first child. Choosing whether to breastfeed or not can is a big decision during which most women undertake a lot of research. If you have chosen to breastfeed your little one, there is more to consider than just the role it will play in your baby’s development but also the manner it could affect your dental routine. In this blog we share the implications of breastfeeding for both you and your baby as well as the importance of oral hygiene during this time.
How will breastfeeding affect your baby?
- Decreases the risk of tooth decay
Babies who are fed milk using a bottle are at a higher risk of tooth decay. This is generally the case when babies are put to bed with the bottle still in their mouth. While the chances of decay are generally lower with children who are breastfed, the risks of decay cannot be eliminated. As a precaution, you should wipe your baby’s gums with a damp towel twice a day to help rid their mouth of harmful bacteria. As a family dentist, we also recommend that your child first visit our practice as soon as their first tooth erupts. In this way, we can monitor their teeth and bite developments as well as detect potential problems earlier.
- Better Bite
Although there are other factors involved, breastfeeding might help with alignments and potentially decrease the risk of crossbite, overbites and underbites.
- You do not have to wean
You do not have to stop breastfeeding when your baby gets teeth. It is recommended that you breastfeed for the first one or two years after your baby’s birth. Teeth usually start to sprout after six months. Mother’s need to do what is right for them and their children.
Breastfeeding implications for mum:
- Neglect of own oral health
Dental changes can occur as a result of hormonal changes from when you are pregnant. High levels of progesterone can create more acid in your mouth during pregnancy which can lead to gingivitis. This is why it is important to still maintain regular check-ups even while breastfeeding.
Being a new mum can be overwhelming, and we find that mothers often neglect themselves. Sometimes you may forget to brush your teeth twice a day or you simply can’t find the time to floss. Not brushing or flossing can cause gum disease and decay.
- Extra Care Over Medications
Dental problems do happen when you’re breastfeeding and in most cases, you would need to take mediations and antibiotics. It is important for you to check with the dentist if the prescribed medication is okay for the baby.
- Stay hydrated
We understand that you are busy but staying hydrated is crucial especially when you are breastfeeding. Dehydration can cause you to develop a dry mouth. The lack of saliva could lead to tooth decay and gum disease as saliva helps fight against bacteria and neutralises the mouth.
For more information or for a consultation, book an appointment with us today.