Breastfeeding and Oral Health in the first months of life

"Breastfeeding offers important benefits for both, the mother and the newborn. Breastfeeding promotes growth and development of the baby from the nutritional, immunological and affective point of view: and in regard to oral health, promotes a proper development of nasal breathing, biting and swallowing, helps prepare the baby child for the development of language, facilitates the exit of the teeth and improves the alignment of them. "

In newborns, the jaw is much smaller than the upper jaw and is located backwards. Breastfeeding generates stimuli that promote the growth of the jaw and help prevent the development of abnormalities in the teeth and face. When the baby is breast-feeding, the anterior border of the upper jaw is supported against the surface of the nipple to stimulate the exit of the milk. Suction requires a muscular effort, with coordinated movements of the muscles of the mouth, throat and palate. By exercising the muscles of the mouth, throat and palate. When exercising the muscles responsible for chewing, the position of the jaw moves forward. On the other hand, during breastfeeding the baby is forced to breathe through the nose, because otherwise the nipple would be lost.
Unlike what happens with the use of the bottle, which requires movements of the tongue to control the amount of milk, breastfeeding favors the correct and natural tongue posture.
According to the world organization of health, the frequency of cases of malocclusion (bite problems) is 70 to 80% and it has been shown that breastfeeding reduces these problems considerably.
Breastfeeding decreases the risk of contamination with microorganisms that favour cavity development; and thanks to the increase in the production of saliva, it allows to maintain an adequate environment in the mouth that helps to reduce the incidence of caries.
Also, by not using the bottle, cavities caused by the ingestion of sweet milk and other sweet foods are avoided. By increasing the body’s defenses, breastfeeding avoids allergies and respiratory infections, which can induce mouth breathing. The composition of the breast milk fat and the increased absorption of calcium and fluoride increases the resistance of the tooth enamel, that is to say, the layer that covers the teeth, and the other hard tissues of the teeth.
The mother should be very careful with the oral hygiene of the baby; After feeding, it is advisable to clean the gums with a wet gauze. Proper hygiene of the nipple is also important.
When the first tooth appears, it is recommended to gradually suppress breastfeeding, especially during the night, since there is less saliva in the mouth, the susceptibility to bacteria that cause caries is higher.

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