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Breastfeeding and Oral Health by Dr. Róisín Boyle

Breastfeeding and Oral Health by Dr. Róisín Boyle

Current studies show that breastfeeding up to 12 months of age is associated with a decreased risk of dental decay. WHO recommends breastfeeding until two and beyond as there are many benefits for both mum and baby.

Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for around the first 6 months of life, complementary foods should be introduced from around 6 months of age alongside breastfeeding. Avoid sugary foods and drinks. Breast or formula milk should be the babies main drink until one year old.

Introduce babies to drinking from a non-valve free flow cup from around 6 months of age containing only breast or

formula milk or plain water. Aim to stop using the bottle by their first birthday at the latest. The longer the child uses the bottle the greater chance it may impact
the alignment of their teeth and growth of the oral cavity. Do not give babies a bottle in bed with them at night as this caries a very high risk of ‘baby bottle’ tooth decay. Breastfeeding promotes the full development of the oral cavity and helps with muscle development for speech also.

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Talk to your dentist for further help and advice.

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