Dental health is important for both breastfeeding moms and breastfeeding babies.
“Breast-feeding has been shown to influence the maturation process of dentofacial structures. The constant repetitive effort promotes development of muscles that establish correct oral function. A child who doesn’t breast-feed performs fewer oral exercises. Some research has shown that lack of breast-feeding leads to underdevelopment of the muscles, incorrect positioning of the lip and tongue, and harmful oral habits, all of which may be associated with dental malocclusions.” American Dental Association Quarterly Newsletter
Baby teeth start to appear between 6 months and 1 year. The American Dental Association suggests to begin cleaning baby’s mouth a few days after birth with a clean, moist gauze or washcloth. When baby teeth push through, brush teeth twice a day, using a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste on a soft baby toothbrush.
Sometimes, breastfeeding moms get so busy, they forget to take care of their teeth and don’t brush as much as they did before baby was born. Cavity prevention is especially important because you can transfer bacteria that cause cavities to baby’s mouth. This can even be done by sharing a spoon with baby. Teeth grinding is more common in pregnant and new moms due to stress and tenseness. Not drinking enough water is also common. Dry mouth puts you at risk for gum disease, cavities, … So moms, it is important for you to have good dental health!
Looking for a breastfeeding-friendly dentist? Check with lactation professionals in your community and others moms to see who they recommend.
Is your dentist and staff breastfeeding friendly? If not, encourage them to create an office setting that promotes and supports breastfeeding. Let’s make Texas breastfeeding friendly, y’all!
American Dental Association – Breastfeeding research
American Dental Associaiton – Babies and Kids Dental Health