Breast milk is a fluid of great biological complexity, actively protects and is immunomodulatory. Several elements of its composition should be considered when assessing its influence on oral health:
Defense factors, which inhibit bacterial growth. The macrobiotic of breast milk also plays an important role in competitive exclusion, non-pathogenic bacteria compete for the same biological niche as pathogens.
Minerals such as calcium and phosphorus and proteins such as casein that cause breast milk to favor remineralization.
Components such as Arginine and Urea that favor an increase in pH and therefore decrease demineralization.
An adequate pH (the pH of breast milk ranges between 7.1 and 7.7), which does not change the pH in the buccal medium.
All these components and their physiological action explain that breast milk in itself is not cariogenic10 but rather the opposite, prevents the development of caries.
What are the risks of the absence of breastfeeding on oral health?
The absence of breastfeeding increases the risks to oral health24, among which the suction-swallowing-breathing function is altered, as there is no adequate development of the musculature. It also interferes with the maturation of future oral functions, increasing the risk of atypical swallowing, oral breathing, masticatory dysfunction, difficulties in speech articulation, you never know when a good breastfeeding can benefit your baby until he is old and needs Mexico dentist for dentures.
Children who are not breastfed have a higher risk of dental malocclusions, especially open bite. However, breastfed children, the longer they are breastfed, the less they suck their finger or resort to pacifiers. It is known that there is an inverse relationship between the time of breastfeeding and the harmful oral habits, since the infant covers his needs for non-nutritive suction in the breast. Therefore promote breastfeeding is key to promote oral health.
Is breastfeeding related to the development of caries? What is the available evidence?
Studies that conclude that prolonged breastfeeding increases the risk of early childhood caries (ICD) often have major methodological deficiencies and do not take into account the factors related to the pathogenesis of this disease. On the other hand, many times, the positioning of professionals on the subject is influenced by personal opinions, experiences or prejudices against prolonged breastfeeding.
During breastfeeding, the nipple is placed at the end of the baby’s mouth, on the border between hard palate and soft palate so it does not touch the teeth and in the same act in which the nipple is squeezed. On the other hand, during non-nutritive suction, if the nipple is not milked, milk does not flow continuously. Even if the baby falls asleep with the nipple in his mouth, the milk does not keep coming out. With the bottle there is that risk.
THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE about the relationship between breastfeeding and cavities, and yet breastfeeding has demonstrated health benefits, including oral health. Thus:
All healthcare professionals, including dentists, have the responsibility to PROTECT AND PROMOTE BREASTFEEDING BY SUPPORTING WHO’S RECOMMENDATIONS and to offer correct and up-to-date messages based on scientific evidence.
Efforts should be aimed at emphasizing dental hygiene from an early stage of childhood, advising parents to reduce the frequency of consumption of sugars by the child, advise them to avoid kissing the child’s mouth, blow or try the food before giving it to the baby, especially if they have active cavities.
We must transmit bluntly ALL the benefits of breastfeeding in general and especially oral health.
To affirm that prolonged breastfeeding produces caries, without a conclusive scientific basis, discredits the benefits of breastfeeding, blames mothers who choose to continue breastfeeding beyond two years and dissuades others from continuing to do so, poorly advised by the professionals themselves or pressed for a reason that lacks justification, thus ceasing to enjoy all the benefits of prolonged breastfeeding.