One of the concerns of breastfeeding is the fear that the baby will develop cavity. If you are not breastfeeding your baby for this reason, you need to reconsider your decision. It is in fact true that cavity may develop in infants who are breastfeed. It is also true that cavity is more likely to develop in infants who are bottle-feed.
Studies have shown that breastfed babies have fewer dental cavities than babies who are fed with formula milk. The dental decay in babies is termed nursing caries and may be caused by feeding the baby with juice other than breast milk and formula milk. It is usually the nighttime feeding which is the main cause for nursing caries as the mobility of the saliva is reduced greatly when the baby sleeps.
Now let’s find out why breastfed babies are less likely to develop cavities than bottle fed babies. As you know that breast milk is best for the baby. It has antimicrobial properties which are capable of destroying or inhibiting the growth of disease-causing microorganisms. This acts to reduce the number of bacteria present in the baby’s teeth.
However mother’s milk also contains lactose sugar, which encourages the presence of cavity-causing bacteria. Formula milk contains more ingredients which feed the cavity-causing bacteria. Another reason is that babies who are bottle fed takes more time in sucking the milk from the bottle. This means the milk sits on the teeth for a longer period thereby encouraging dental decay. The breast fed babies who develop cavities are usually those babies who are fed for long durations especially during the night.
Dentists usually suggest weaning so as to prevent further decay. Premature weaning is not a good for the general health of your baby. Moreover, the benefits of extended breastfeeding far outweigh the benefit of preventing tooth decay. Moreover the likelihood of breastfed babies developing cavities is less.
Rather than taking drastic action such as weaning, you can modify the way you breastfeed your baby and enjoy extended breastfeeding without putting your baby’s teeth in danger. Moreover once your baby is ready for solid food, you can start giving him or her certain foods which have strong antibacterial properties.