Posted by: Admin | March 29, 2011

Breastfeeding and Oral Health

Breastfeeding helps the baby’s mouth develop naturally and it helps his teeth grow healthy and straight.”

Let’s follow our 2011 Breastfeeding Calendar and go over the benefits of breastfeeding as they are related to April’s CBHSSJB Public Health Theme: Oral Health.

When the baby is developing in his mother’s womb, his mouth – as well as the rest of him! – is preparing to be breastfed. Once he is born, he continues to develop outside of his mother’s womb. His palate will grow larger and his gums will take on a different shape as the months go by. His mouth and gums are getting ready for the placement of his teeth. At this stage, his palate, his gums and the placement of his tongue in his mouth will be affected by what he sucks on. This is why we say to be careful about using the pacifier for too long, as the teeth might take on a different shape – not the one that nature intended. When a baby is breastfed, the development of his mouth is affected by the breastfeeding. The breast is soft and elastic, and the baby positions his gums and his tongue in such a way that it helps his palate and gums develop perfectly. Also, the baby has to move his tongue in a specific way to obtain milk from the breast. This offers him the best possible mouth development.

A dentist did a study in which he compared the mouths of adults who were breastfed to those of adults who were fed with bottles. He noticed that the adults who were breastfed all had “U” shaped gums that allow for the teeth to place themselves well, while the adults who were fed with a bottle had “V” shaped gums that offered very little space for all the adult teeth to be placed well, which resulted in crooked teeth.

Also, when the baby breastfeeds, the milk does not pool in his mouth. It flows directly in his throat and is swallowed quickly. This protects his teeth from the effect of lactose (the sugar found naturally in milk). Some research has also shown that breastmilk contains a protective factor that fights cavity-causing bacteria, so breastfed babies that have good dental hygiene should also have fewer cavities than bottlefed babies.

Breastfeeding your child for 2 years and beyond, as recommended by the World Health Organization, will help your baby’s mouth develop naturally and it will help his teeth grow healthy and straight.



  1. My son has nice straight teeth! It’s true!

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