Parents are often told nursing at night may cause cavities. Our lactation consultants continue their education as they practice to maintain up-to-date information in their arsenal for helping families.
The full story is there are a combination of factors that contribute to dental caries (i.e. rotten teeth), including genetics, prematurity, oral flora/acidity (which may be genetic or may be shared in a family), dental hygiene, and diet.
Know that breastfeeding by itself is NOT considered a risk for dental caries, even breastfeeding at night.
Practices that will help promote healthy habits, with the potential to minimize the risk of dental caries include:
Wipe or brush teeth at least before bedtime, if not twice per day, starting AS SOON AS they have those sharp little teeth poking through gums.
Preventative dental checkups are recommended to start at age 1.
Limit juices and sticky foods (our recent educational presenter doesn’t like corn flakes or teething biscuits), and encourage fruits and veggies that rub against the teeth once they are ready for them.
We encourage you to consider the source of your information. Even studies should receive critical evaluation of the source of the study, the funding source for it, and the size of the pool of participants. It is our goal to provide families with accurate information rather than undo pressure from “they say” statements or dated information.
If you are have additional questions about dental care in infants or feeding/foods, your lactation consultant will be happy to guide you.