Is Breast-Feeding Better Than Bottle-Feeding To Prevent Cavities?
Chances are you've seen parents on both sides of the breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding debate raging online about what's best for newborns. Every mother's circumstances are unique to their own situation, and it's important that you do the research, speak with your healthcare professional, and make an informed decision about what's best for your child, free from the guilt or shame of online comment threads.
But is there a difference in how breastmilk vs. formula affects your newborn's oral health? Not really. No matter how you're best able to give your little one the nutrients they need, it's important you take the same steps to prevent early childhood cavities (cavities in children under the age of 5):
- Avoid letting your baby hold onto their bottle all day. Cavities form from bacteria on your child's teeth, having consistent access to sugar.
- After your baby feeds, use a wet cloth or gauze to wipe down their teeth or gums. (Don't use fluoridated toothpaste until your child is at least two years old.)
- Avoid overnight feeding. Bringing your baby to bed with you and allowing them to nurse all night or leaving a bottle in their crib can allow milk to "pool" in their mouth and cause acid to form continuously throughout the night. This acid leads to decay.
- The American Dental Association recommends that you encourage your child to drink from a cup by their first birthday.
- Don't dip pacifiers in anything sweet.
- Limit sugary or starchy snacks and drinks.
- Take your baby to a pediatric dentist when their first tooth comes in and no later than their first birthday.