It is important for any dentist to keep up on research in the field, especially in Perth. We recently came upon an article about research being done about the effects of breastfeeding on the dental health of the child. As advocates of family dental care, we want to share what we have learned.
Recently, Associate Professor Karen Peres of Adelaide University was able to uncover statistical proof that babies who are breastfed have less misaligned teeth. Unfortunately, the research also showed that using a pacifier can undo the good that was done by breastfeeding.
Details of the Study
This study followed more than 1,300 children over a period of five years. They asked how much the children were breastfed at three months old, one year old and two years old. They also compiled information about pacifier use at the ages of three months, one year, two years and four years old. 40% of the children in the study were found to have used pacifiers on a daily basis for four years.
The children were all examined at age five. The study tracked various types of dental misalignment, such as overbite, crossbite, open bite and misaligned individual teeth from severe to moderate.
According to Professor Peres, the children were born in 2004 and examined up to five years of age. Not only was breastfeeding tracked, but so were a number of socio-economic habits. Those who were breastfed at least until the age of six months old were more likely to have perfectly positioned teeth than those who hadn’t been breastfed.
For children who were breastfed for periods of three to six months, the likelihood of misalignment as 41% less than for those who weren’t. If the breastfeeding lasted six months or longer, the children were 72% less likely to have misaligned teeth.
According to Professor Peres, the likely explanation for the results is that children who are breastfed but not exposed to bottle feeding develop “better muscle tone” than those who are bottle fed.
It’s Never Too Early for Dental Care
Dental Health Week was celebrated on 3-9 August. That was an important week, but we aim to continue the event’s goal to promote awareness. Come help us in this endeavour.