Breastfeeding and tooth decay

Are you worried that your baby may suffer from caries due to breast milk? Do you have any doubts about your baby's oral health and hygiene in his first teeth? Stay with us and we will answer these questions. 

The breast milk is the ideal food for our baby, as, in addition to nourishing it, it actively protects its general and oral health.

It provides the necessary nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and proteinfor the correct formation of bones and teeth. And it contains components such as Arginine and Urea that favour an increase in oral pH and therefore reduce the appearance of caries.

In addition, breastfeeding delays harmful habits for our baby, such as prolonged sucking of the thumb or dummy, which can lead to future malocclusions. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Union and the Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Paediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, supplemented with other foods for up to 2 years or more, i.e. until the mother and baby want to breastfeed. 

On the other hand, breast milk contains sugarscombined with poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay from a very early age. As we already know, caries is a disease that is caused by a combination of several factors and additional conditions are necessary for its formation. 

The most important thing is to maintain good hygiene, from the first months of our baby's life, so here are some tips on how to achieve this: 

1. Regardless of whether breast or bottle feeding, we must cleaning the gums The baby's teeth can be removed with a wet gauze even before the baby's teeth appear. 

From the eruption of the first tooth (around 6 months), it is already necessary to brush the child's teeth with fluoride paste (1000ppm), twice a day, morning and evening. In addition, it is necessary to lift the lip during brushing to clean the gums and check for stains (initial decalcifications or caries).  

2. We must delay as long as possible the introduction of sugars such as biscuits or juices in our baby's diet. The bottle should be used exclusively for water or milk, but sugary liquids should not be added. The frequency with which these sugars are consumed is more important than the quantity, so from the time the first teeth appear, a minimum of two hours is necessary between each feeding to allow the saliva to neutralise the pH of the mouth. 

3. Avoid as much as possible the transfer of saliva to the baby, by actions such as tasting or blowing their food with the same spoon or kissing them on the mouth. Be especially careful if parents or caregivers have active caries at this time. 

4. The first visit to the paediatric dentist is recommended around the baby's first birthday, when the first baby teeth start to appear.