How Breastfeeding Affects Your Child’s Oral Health

CHOOSING TO BREASTFEED a child is a personal and special decision for a mother. Not only does nursing provide a valuable bonding experience for mother and baby, it also has many health benefits, such as decreasing the child’s risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and lowering the chances of mom developing breast and ovarian cancer. But what effect can breastfeeding have on baby’s oral health and development?

Breastfeeding Aids in Bite Alignment

You may not have known that the sucking mechanisms are different for bottle-fed and breastfed babies. Breastfeeding stimulates muscle tone in the jaw because it requires the use of the jaw muscles more so than bottle-feeding. A study published in “Pediatrics” also showed that babies who were exclusively breastfed for six months were 72 percent less likely to have crooked teeth.

With that being said, it is important to remember that every child is different.Breastfeeding does not guarantee that a child will not have future orthodontic problems just as bottle-feeding does not always lead to bite misalignment. There are many factors that go into bite alignment such as thumb-sucking, pacifier use and genetics.

Decrease Your Child’s Risk of Tooth Decay

Breastfed babies have a reduced risk of cavities. This is because they aren’t at risk for baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay happens when a child is put to bed with a bottle that contains formula, milk, or fruit juice. Cavities and decay can still occur in breastfed babies, however, if parents aren’t careful.

To prevent decay, whether bottle feeding or breastfeeding, gently wipe your infant’s gums with a wet washcloth or soft towel after feedings. Later, when your child’s teeth finally make an appearance, start brushing them with a small toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste twice daily. For children under three, use no more than a smear of toothpaste, approximately the size of a grain of rice.

And good news, moms. The eruption of teeth doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding. Every mother and every child is different. Start weaning your child whenever it is right for both of you.

Moms, Don’t Neglect Your Own Oral Health

Mothers with newborns are completely focused on taking care of the new addition to their family. But, moms, don’t let that get in the way of setting enough time aside to focus on your oral hygiene. Cavity prevention is even more crucial for new parents, as bacteria can be transferred from you to your baby.

We Want Healthy Smiles for Mothers and Their Children

Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, or a combination of both, it’s up to parents to start their children off right when it comes to their oral health and development. If you have any questions concerning pediatric oral health care, give us a call. Our job is to keep families smiling!

To our patients and friends, thank you.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Calcium Isn’t Just Good for Bones—It Benefits Your Smile Too!

WE’VE ALL BEEN TOLD (and many of us tell our children) that milk builds strong bones. But our nutritional and dietary preferences are not only widely varied, they also change from time to time. Does milk really “do a body good”? Some believe it does, and others believe it doesn’t.

Regardless of your take, you’re not alone. Today, millions of people follow vegan or vegetarian diets, and tens of millions of people are lactose intolerant. Whether or not you choose to avoid dairy for health or other personal reasons, here are some thoughts from our team.

Calcium and Vitamin D Play a Key Role in Oral Health

It’s true that dairy products are full of calcium, and often supplemented with vitamin D (which helps your body absorb calcium and other bone-building minerals). While people on specialized diets (including vegans and vegetarians) are typically very careful about eating healthy, there’s still a risk of calcium and vitamin D deficiency.

One of the dangers in calcium and vitamin D deficiency is the increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease. In addition, these deficiencies can weaken your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Without the right vitamins and minerals, your mouth’s defenses may be down.

Need a Good Source of Calcium? Dairy Isn’t the Only Option!

The good news is that, if you choose, you can get these nutrients from alternative sources. For example, just one ounce of sesame seeds contains almost as much calcium as an entire glass of milk. Other major sources of calcium are dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens.

When it comes to vitamin D, surprisingly, your best source is the sun! When exposed to the sun’s radiation, your body naturally produces vitamin D. But of course, be careful and use common sense—you also know the potential problems associated with prolonged/unprotected sun exposure.

There are also a number of things we can eat and drink that are “fortified” with calcium and vitamin D including soy milk, orange juice and some breakfast cereals. You can also consider taking supplements.

Do you have questions about this topic? Contact us! Do you have suggestions for others who may be wondering about other sources for their daily calcium? Let us know! Leave a comment below, or on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

And, as always, thank you for being our valued patient!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Extra Floss? Try These Tricks!

WE KNOW, WE KNOW… We ask you about flossing every time you come visit us! It is an integral part of your oral hygiene routine and essential for healthy gums and teeth. But did you know there’s more to floss than cleaning between your teeth? Dental floss can actually be used for a lot of other things!

Eight Useful Dental Floss Hacks

Have some extra floss lying around? Don’t have the right equipment and need to get a job done in a pinch? Try these cool dental floss hacks.

  1. Use floss for perfectly sliced cake. Ever slice a cake and the knife comes up with half of the cake on it? Use flavorless dental floss to make the perfect slice by stretching it taut and gently pressing through the cake. Pull it out when you reach the bottom and voila!
  2. Don’t have any kitchen twine? Floss will do. Some foods like meat and bacon need to be bound when cooked. Usually kitchen twine takes care of this but what if you run out? Floss (again, flavorless) has got you covered!
  3. Floss can help you start a campfire. Believe it or not, waxed dental floss burns well! Wrap dental floss around a match or a dry piece of wood to increase burn time.
  4. Floss can clean out those hard-to-reach spots in your furniture. You know those small cracks and crevices in your wooden furniture that you can never manage to clean? Well, dental floss is meant to get into nooks and crannies! Try it on your wooden furniture. You’ll thank us later.
  5. Floss is great for sewing. Whether you’re out of thread or in need of something more durable, floss works well for sewing on buttons and patching up holes on the fly.
  6. Are your freshly-baked cookies stuck to the baking sheet? Floss ‘em!Dental floss can unstick your cookies without leaving anything behind.
  7. Dental floss can even help in the garden. If you’re training a vine to grow a certain direction, floss can help! Use it to attach the vine loosely to the structure you want the vine to climb.
  8. Floss makes for an easy DIY clothesline. If you’re camping, in a hotel, or simply don’t have room in the dryer, floss can be used to create your own clothesline. Yes, it’s that strong!


Let’s Be Honest, Floss Is Awesome

Whether you’re using floss to patch something up or slice your birthday cake, always remember to use it for what it was made for, to clean in between your teeth!Daily flossing protects your beautiful smile from periodontal disease and tooth loss, so yeah, we’d say it’s pretty awesome!

Know some more flossing hacks? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page! We’d love to hear from you!

We have the best patients in the world!

Image by Flickr user brett jordan used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Saliva: The Unsung Hero of Oral Health

EVER THINK ABOUT HOW GREAT your saliva is? Probably not. We’d love to enlighten you! Saliva has an all-important role in your oral and digestive health.

Saliva Has Many Important Functions

Our bodies make two to four pints of saliva a day. That means that over a lifetime, a person will create enough saliva to fill two swimming pools! So, why is saliva important? Well, there’s more than one answer to that. Besides allowing us to give wet willies or make spit wads when we were kids, our saliva has many important functions.

First, saliva aids in digestion. It begins the process of breaking down food and helps us chew, taste and swallow. In fact, without our spit, we wouldn’t be able to taste at all!

Additionally, saliva is essential to maintaining our oral health. Our spit contains antimicrobial agents that protect teeth and defend against bacteria. It also contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate that remineralize our teeth, strengthening the enamel.

Your saliva plays an especially important role after eating and drinking. It washes away that extra food and debris left in your mouth that contributes to decay. It also helps neutralize the acids created by bacteria that break down enamel and cause cavities. Thank you, saliva!

Some People Do Not Create Enough Saliva

Some people have a condition called dry mouth, where they aren’t producing enough saliva. Certain illnesses and medications can cause dry mouth, and those who have it are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease as a result. For those with and without dry mouth, here are some tips to increase saliva production and protect your teeth:

  • Chew sugar-free gum, especially after meals
  • Suck on sugarless candy
  • Drink plenty of water

Saliva Works Around the Clock to Protect Our Smiles

Saliva may just be the unsung hero of our oral health. It is constantly strengthening and defending our teeth against bacteria, decay and dental disease. At the end of the day, all we can say is that our bodies are amazing and our spit is awesome!

Thank you to our wonderful patients and friends!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.