Nursing Decay

The pediatric experts at Children’s Dental FunZone of Montebello and Eagle Rock, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, always recommend breastfeeding babies until the first year of life. Some older studies suggest that breast-feeding can increase the occurrence of early tooth decay in children. However, these case reports presented insufficient scientific evidence to support their claims, with the conclusions being based only on a limited number of case studies that have proven to give an inadequate understanding of nursing decay. Concerned mothers in the Los Angeles and Montebello areas may consult with the pediatric dental experts after Children’s Dental Zone to get more information regarding the potential of causing tooth decay in their infants.

In addition to the fact that there is no evidence indicating that breast-feeding promotes tooth decay, recent and more advanced research suggests that breast-feeding may actually play a big role in protecting your child’s teeth against decay.  Studies have found that the natural antibodies in breast milk, specifically the protein lactoferrin, can prevent the growth and proliferation of the bacterium Streptococcus Mutans, which is known to cause tooth decay in children.

On the other hand, feeding babies formula may be a more conceivable cause of tooth decay for young children. Bacteria in the mouth are more readily able to use the sucrose found in artificial milk to thrive and cause damage to the enamel of young teeth. Research has also shown that some types of breast milk substitutes are able to dissolve your child’s tooth enamel and reduce the pH in the mouth significantly to support bacterial growth, which can lead to early tooth decay.

In addition to the vast difference between the composition of mother’s milk and breast milk substitutes, choosing between breast-feeding and bottle-feeding may also contribute to your child’s dental health. Bottle-feeding delivers milk to the front of the child’s mouth, allowing it to pool around, and be in contact longer, with the child’s teeth. On the contrary, breast-feeding delivers milk directly to the back of the child’s throat to stimulate swallowing because the nipple is drawn farther into the child’s mouth. When a bottle-fed baby falls asleep, the artificial teat continually drips the contents of the bottle slow into the baby’s mouth. In breastfeeding, the milk is only release when it is actively sucked by the child.

Ultimately, the most important consideration is to always wipe your child’s teeth, either with a toothbrush or a wash cloth after nursing or bottle feeding. That will help wipe off any of the sugary milk residue, preventing future cavities.


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