Do Breastfed Babies Need a Pediatric Checkup?
I’ve been told breastfeeding is good for a baby’s teeth. If that’s the case do I really need to do that one-year-old dental checkup if they’ve been exclusively breastfed?
Lindsey – The broke widow
I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve been thrown into widowhood, especially with a baby. That must be extraordinarily difficult. I understand your desire to conserve as much money as possible.
Pediatric Dental Benefits to Breastfeeding
Every system of a baby’s body benefits from breastfeeding. It helps their immune system. It helps their brain development. And, as you mentioned above, it even helps their teeth. Here are just some of the ways it does that.
The content is completely different.
While scientists have done there best in copying breastmilk with formula, we’ve never been able to match it exactly. It has components that we just haven’t been able to manufacture yet. Some of these components seem to have the ability to inoculate children in a way that helps them fight decay better.
The mechanics are completely different.
When children drink from a bottle, the “milk” tends to pool at the worst place possible for the health of their teeth. Breastfeeding is completely different. The sucking mechanism at the breast draws the milk to the back of the throat kicking in their swallowing reflex. This keeps the milk from their teeth.
That being said, if a child falls asleep while breastfeeding then sometimes the milk will pool just like with a bottle.
Reasons a Breastfed Child May Still Need an Early Pediatric Dental Checkup
There are several good reasons to ensure you get your young one to a dentist around one-year-old.
The first reason is most children, even breastfed children, are eating some food by a year old. While the milk may have great properties, they’re going to face the same bacterial issues any other child faces with run of the mill table food or baby food. You’ll want to see how their teeth are holding up to the new introductions.
A second reason is genetics. There are two big issues with this. One just has to do with just the normal genetics of how his or her body responds to decay. Some people can do everything right. They brush two times a day. They floss daily. They get checkups twice yearly. And even with all that, decay is a constant battle. Others can do the exact same things and never have a cavity their entire lives.
Another issue which is an issue with genetics is if there’s an abnormality. Their teeth begin developing in the womb so abnormalities can develop early. It’s always easier to treat if you catch them early as well. The sooner they get their initial check the better.
But, my favorite reason for early checkups is positive experiences. Many parents wait just a wee bit too long to get their children their first checkups. When that happens, their child’s first trip to the dentist is for a painful cavity or worse a dental emergency.
It’s so much better for them to get their first experience with the dentist to be a fun one, leading to a lifelong healthy idea about dental visits.
This blog is brought to you by the dentists of Angel Dental Care. We gladly accept Medicaid.