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Thread: Tooth decay

  1. #1

    Default Tooth decay

    My son who is 8 months already has 5 teeth in and I wanted to know if frequent nursing at night causes tooth decay? His ped told us to stop nursing at night because of the possibility of this, but I read on kelly mom that it doesn't. He comforts nurses a lot and I guessing because he has been teething for quite some time now.

    Thanks so much for any info. regarding this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Re: Tooth decay

    "You may have heard that night nursing can lead to what used to be called baby bottle tooth decay. Breast milk by itself is the healthiest food for babies’ teeth, day or night. It tends to slow bacterial growth and acid production. However, when breast milk is alternated with sugary foods or drinks, the rate of tooth decay can be faster than with sugar alone. Night nursing can be wonderful, but avoid sugary snacks and drinks for your baby or toddler throughout the day – and especially close to sleep time."

    I'm assuming you found this page, right? http://kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/tooth-decay.html If you haven't already, look at the list of resources at the end of the article.

    2 La Leche articles:

    Basically, make sure to clean out your LO's mouth after foods/drinks that aren't breastmilk. And then night nursing shouldn't be a big deal.
    3/2011 {EBF to 6mos, now BF and BLS, CD, EC'ing since 5mos - in underwear at 11mos, and babywearing}
    Babywearing International has chapters - see if there's one near you... most have lending libraries!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Tooth decay

    Nope, nighttime breastfeeding doesn't cause tooth decay. The sugars in breastmilk aren't the kind that really fuel decay, and when a baby nurses, the nipple is way back in their mouth, behind the teeth. In addition, milk cannot pool in the mouth the way it does with a bottle, because the baby must continue to suck and swallow or the milk flow stops. This is totally different from what happens with a bottle, where fluid will drip into the mouth and pool in the mouth even when the baby is not sucking or swallowing.

    Night-weaning is not essential to preventing tooth decay. But there are some things you can do to help your LO's teeth stay healthy:
    - Limit sugary snacks and juices (because those sugars DO cause decay)
    - Limit food sharing with adults- the bacteria in adult mouths can start the decay process going in baby's mouth
    - Once or twice a day, wipe baby's teeth down with a clean wet washrag
    - Start taking your baby to the dentist, somewhere around age 2

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Tooth decay

    I nursed my DS1 through the night until he was 20 months old. (And his teeth came in fast, starting at 5 months.) He's almost 4 now and just had his first dental x-rays taken yesterday. No cavities!
    Stay at home mom to my 2 boys:
    R - born 4/20/08, nursed for 20 months
    G - born 8/6/11, EPd for 4 months, until he refused the bottle!
    Loving CDing this time around!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Tooth decay

    "Study finds no association between breastfeeding and early childhood caries." From the American Dental Association http://www.ada.org/3143.aspx

    original article from the Pediatrics Journal http://pediatrics.aappublications.or.../e944.abstract

    Maybe you can print a copy for your pediatrician

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Tooth decay

    PPs provided some good links. Those were the same ones I found when I had the same concerns.

    My 2 year old has had teeth since 6 months, and has basically nursed at night his whole life, besides a 3 month break. He doesn't have any cavities. I actually thought he did, because he had some natural pitting on his teeth, and then staining from iron supplementation, but it turned out he was fine. My 4 year old had bottles of breastmilk at night until well past his 1st birthday, but was never left with them in his mouth after feeding, and he also has really healthy teeth.

    Exclusively pumped for Lance Oct 07
    Nursed until just before he turned 3 Levi Oct 09

    Do you have extra milk? Consider donating!

    "So I was welcomed by the consolations of human milk; but it was not my mother or my nurses who made any decision to fill their breasts, but you who through them gave me infant food, in accordance with your ordinance and the riches which are distributed deep in the natural order." -St Augustine

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