BF causing cavities?(11 Posts)
Took my 7yr old DS to the dentist today. It's his first visit as he has autism and we had never managed to get him into the chair before today!
The dentist found a cavity in one of his milk teeth and after extensive questioning about his diet, she concluded that it had been caused by me breastfeeding him at night when he was a baby.
DS has never had a sweet tooth and will only drink water. However, he does eat quite a lot of fruit. He's not allowed sweets or chocolate.
DS was always a poor sleeper (caused by his autism, we now know) so I did used to feed him back to sleep when he woke. But I know that health professionals often give out misleading information when it comes to bfing, so I wanted to check with wise mumsnetters. I'm currently bfing DS3 at night too. I've never heard this before and I don't understand how it could cause cavities all these years later.
The LaLeche League have reported a connection between night nursing and cavities in BF and FF children. Some dentists feel that babies should be weaned off the breast or bottle once the child is on a mixed diet, if that's not possible then night feeds should be avoided.
All milk contains sugar so have the potential to cause tooth decay but to blame BFing seems a bit desperate of the dentist. You might want to watch the fruit in his diet because of the sugar and acid.
So your child eats a lot of fruit and your dentist chooses to blame breastfeeding?
And here's kellymom's view of the subject tooth decay
Penfold, I'd like to see some sources on that. Because as far as I am aware there are absolutely no connections between breastfeeding and cavities.
Quoted from the link above: "Before the use of the baby bottle, dental decay in baby teeth was rare." Kellymom is a well respected source for information regarding breastfeeding.
I would be tempted to send your dentist some information and ask them to make sure the advice/criticisms they are handing out are actually valid.
Keep on boobin mama, you are doing the biologically normal thing - including feeding to sleep.
Copied from KellyMom (with added emphasis from me):
Until relatively recently, the only studies that had been done were on the effects of lactose (milk sugar, which breastmilk does contain) on teeth, not the effects of complete breastmilk with all its components. Breastmilk also contains lactoferrin, a component in breastmilk that actually kills strep mutans (the bacteria that causes tooth decay). A study in the March/April 1999 issue of Pediatric Dentistry utilized extracted teeth to obtain most of its results and studied children only for determining the pH changes in dental plaque (Erickson 1999) – this study ”concluded that human breast milk is not cariogenic.” A Finnish study could not find any correlation between caries and breastfeeding among children who were breastfed longer (up to 34 months) (Alaluusua 1990). Valaitis et al concluded, “In a systematic review of the research on early childhood caries, methodology, variables, definitions, and risk factors have not been consistently evaluated. There is not a constant or strong relationship between breastfeeding and the development of dental caries. There is no right time to stop breastfeeding, and mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed as long as they wish.” (Valaitis 2000). Another review in 2013 (Lavigne 2013), ”revealed that there was no conclusive evidence that prolonged breastfeeding increased the risk of early childhood cavities.”
A LLL link on the subject, I have only skimmed the page as I'm sorting out tea; but a quote "Overall, their comparison indicated that many of the studies that showed a link between breastfeeding and caries had contradictory findings and weak methodology."
Clunky here you go: www.laleche.org.uk/news/breastfeeding-and-dental-health
Personally I still think BF is the way to go.
Thanks Penfold, a quote from that link...
"He said "The No. 1 priority for the breastfeeding mother is to make sure that her child is getting optimal nutrition," and added "Our study does not suggest that breastfeeding causes caries”. The authors speculate that it is possible that breast milk in conjunction with excess refined sugar in modern foods may be contributing to the greater tooth decay seen in babies breastfed the longest and most often."
I don't have time to read it all, but I agree. Keep on boobin' a few cavities in milk teeth (if bfing 'caused' them which I doubt) then that risk is worth the overall health benefits of breastfeeding past six months.
Keep on boobin!!
As a dentist I'd disagree with the dentist you saw. If he's had this cavity 5years or more the tooth would be needing extraction by now. An untreated cavity in a primary tooth would not hold out that long. Does he eat any dried fruit eg raisins? That would be a far more likely cause.
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