Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Does nursing cause cavities???

  1. #1

    Default Does nursing cause cavities???

    Hello mothers! I'm currently nursing my almost 28m/o and he just had his first in-office dentist visit on Thursday past. I found out he has 5 cavities! I brush morning, evening, and night and he brushes after meals at nursery school. So I didnt' see how this was possible. My cousin firmly reminded me that my now 6y/o had 12 cavities while he nursed as a toddler (which I could hardly forget bc it required dental surgery), but people kept suggesting it was the nursing that caused my 1st son's extensive dental problems. So, here I go again. The only difference is, my 1st son would not take formula NOR pumped breastmilk in the bottle while I worked. So my mom gave him lots of juices to make it through. And his dad gave him lots of candy. So, I attributed the cavities to that more so than the nursing. And boy, did he nurse! Some nights he would nurse ALL night long even as a toddler. My 2nd son nurses a lot too but not as much as the 1st, yet he often goes to sleep with it in his mouth for comfort and will wake up if I take it.

    What to do, what to do? I talked to him this afternoon and told him no more "ninny" as he calls it, bc he has gotten to be a big boy and can just continue milk in his cup. He said ok, but as soon as nap time came, it broke my heart to see him cry so hard and so long so I gave in. Before this dentist visit Thursday, I honestly had no certain time set to wean him. I am a middle school teacher, and he does well all day without it. Unlike my other son who refused other things while I was away at work. Langston just wants it when we are together and I have no problem with that.

    Suggestions? Help, please.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,565

    Default Re: Does nursing cause cavities???

    The whole topic of whether or not it causes cavities (also known as carries) is controversial. I have read about it many times and can share with you this link that might be of some interest https://www.llli.org/nb/nbmarapr94p56.html there are other articles too if you write "dental carries" in the search bar on the top right hand side of the screen where it says "search llli.org".

    I have nursed 3 children and I have nursed them at night, especially my first child. I don't have any direct experience with cavities as so far we haven't had any here but I can tell you that I did nurse them at night into the toddler years. So I don't think its a direct connection that nursing CAUSES dental carries. I think that there are other factors at play too (diet, genetics, perhaps? I don't know for sure). What I can see from your post though is that you've certainly tried your best to make sure your child has his teeth brushed well.

    Is there any way that you could nurse him before bed, and then brush his teeth, and then nurse him when he awakes, rather than nursing to sleep at his age? I know its hard and I know its nice to nurse to sleep (and convenient) but what about talking to him about it and saying in simple terms that now we need to nurse and then brush teeth or something like that? A sort of compromise? It still won't be easy but its not an all or nothing that way.

    I hope this helps some.
    Mommy to 3 beautiful girls!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Does nursing cause cavities???

    Thanks so much for responding. I am about to check out your suggestion right away. With my 6y/o, I was told at the dentist that his teeth simply cannot sustain sticky/chewy things, raisins included. So maybe it is just a deficiency with him anyway. I did stop nursing him at 28 mths however, I intended to go longer with Langston because he is often sick due to sickle cell anemia. During crises, stays in the hospital, etc, sometimes the ONLY thing he will take is the breast. One stay he was so dehydrated they had stuck over 30 times trying to get a vein for an IV to rehydrate him. The only thing I could do meanwhile was nurse him. He didn't want popsicles, gatorade, juice or anything else he could have by mouth. So imagine had he not even nursed the little bit that he did. Also it is all I can do to comfort him in times of pain when even pain meds thru IV isn't working.

    Checking out the link now! Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    19,881

    Default Re: Does nursing cause cavities???

    Here's another article on breastfeeding and dental decay: http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/tooth-decay/

    Both my kids were nursed at night until they turned 2, and neither one has any cavities. So even though an anecdote isn't data, I buy the argument that the sugars in breastmilk are unlikely to cause decay- unless perhaps a child has some sort of underlying enamel defect that makes them extra susceptible to cavities. If you suspect something like that, you could try wiping your kid's teeth down with a clean, wet washcloth after he nurses.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,710

    Default Re: Does nursing cause cavities???

    My understanding is that there IS a genetic component to cavities.

    My son nursed until 2.5 and my daughter until 3 (the latter a LOT at night in the last year), and neither has had any cavities.

    If your child is susceptible to cavities, I can see wanting to be cautious. On the other hand, given what you describe, if I were in your shoes, I would probably stick with it for the comfort aspect. Sounds like he has to bear a lot without taking that away from him.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Does nursing cause cavities???

    Thanks for this link. It has me wondering if some of the many meds Langston takes on a daily basis could have attributed to some or all of this tooth decay.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*nola View Post
    The whole topic of whether or not it causes cavities (also known as carries) is controversial. I have read about it many times and can share with you this link that might be of some interest https://www.llli.org/nb/nbmarapr94p56.html there are other articles too if you write "dental carries" in the search bar on the top right hand side of the screen where it says "search llli.org".

    I have nursed 3 children and I have nursed them at night, especially my first child. I don't have any direct experience with cavities as so far we haven't had any here but I can tell you that I did nurse them at night into the toddler years. So I don't think its a direct connection that nursing CAUSES dental carries. I think that there are other factors at play too (diet, genetics, perhaps? I don't know for sure). What I can see from your post though is that you've certainly tried your best to make sure your child has his teeth brushed well.

    Is there any way that you could nurse him before bed, and then brush his teeth, and then nurse him when he awakes, rather than nursing to sleep at his age? I know its hard and I know its nice to nurse to sleep (and convenient) but what about talking to him about it and saying in simple terms that now we need to nurse and then brush teeth or something like that? A sort of compromise? It still won't be easy but its not an all or nothing that way.

    I hope this helps some.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Does nursing cause cavities???

    Tireless, thanks for this link. Like the other ones I viewed, it makes me continue to think that the breastfeeding should not have been the cause of these cavities.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Here's another article on breastfeeding and dental decay: http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/tooth-decay/

    Both my kids were nursed at night until they turned 2, and neither one has any cavities. So even though an anecdote isn't data, I buy the argument that the sugars in breastmilk are unlikely to cause decay- unless perhaps a child has some sort of underlying enamel defect that makes them extra susceptible to cavities. If you suspect something like that, you could try wiping your kid's teeth down with a clean, wet washcloth after he nurses.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Does nursing cause cavities???

    Faithful, you are right. He does have to bear a lot and he is a little trooper so I think I will continue to nurse him. I'm not going to deny him the benefits of it. And like I read in one of the replies, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*manitobamommy View Post
    My understanding is that there IS a genetic component to cavities.

    My son nursed until 2.5 and my daughter until 3 (the latter a LOT at night in the last year), and neither has had any cavities.

    If your child is susceptible to cavities, I can see wanting to be cautious. On the other hand, given what you describe, if I were in your shoes, I would probably stick with it for the comfort aspect. Sounds like he has to bear a lot without taking that away from him.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Does nursing cause cavities???

    Just a couple more links to throw at you.

    - Another Q&A on toddler nursing and cavities from New Beginnings

    - And from a 2006 issue of the LLL Leader magazine-- Early Childhood Caries: New Knowledge Has Implications for Breastfeeding Families
    Karen
    Forums Admin

    Find an LLL Leader or Meeting | Get one-on-one help from a Leader online | Become a Member of LLLI

    Feel like you need professional help? ¿Es usted necesita ayuda profesional? --> Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) <--

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •