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September 5, 2007

More about cavities - how about breast milk

Thought I'd share an email I had with my sister-n-law about cavities, drinks, and breastfeeding, and an interesting chat started on a chat site I was readign about breastfeedign and cavities - hey I like to be informed! :

Hi Joy,
I don't have any great suggestions about getting your girl to drink water. I have been lucky as Isabelle has always liked water and has not had any juice yet. It is funny though, she doesn't like cold water and is happier with room temperature. You said you brushed her teeth lots, so I'm sure her teeth are fine. Breastmilk can also
be harsh on teeth, at least that is what Kendall's dentist told her. Cole was nursed for over two years and recently (at the age of 4) had to have a bunch of teeth pulled and a number of fillings. The dentist made Kendall feel like trash by saying it was caused by giving him pop, chips, etc. She was pissed, because Cole had never had any crap since birth. The dentist then said it was probably caused partly by genetics and also nursing him to sleep. He told her she should have always been brushing his teeth after nursing or giving him water to wash out his mouth. This freaked me out a little. After she told me this, I have always made sure to brush Isabelle's teeth after her last feed or give her water. That is why she has been
having water since she got teeth at 4 months. Scary, isn't it? She felt terrible for the poor little guy. If I hear of any drinks that might be more appealing than water, I will let you now. Take care, Cori

How awful having to have all those teeth done on a little one - especialy since they have to put them totally under! You know the lactation consultants I talked to through the Health Unit here, and the Le Leache League Leaders ( I've seen them a lot because Hailey couldn't' nurse for 2 months) they said that when babies nurse the milk is actually shooting down at their throat and not even getting in the mouth area. If you read books on the mechanics of baby's nursing you see that they stretch/ suck the nipple so far back that is past the hard pallet of their mouth all the way to the soft tissue that starts at the very back of the pallet as the throat starts. So I think the dentist must have not really known what he was talking about - I guess they aren't really expected to be specially trained in breastfeeding. That sure would have freaked me out too, but it worked out well for you because she likes water - so lucky! I hope Hailey takes to water soon. I tried her today with an actual cup, and she was really interested in it and drank a fair bit - hope the novelty doesn't wear off.

FROM CHAT THREAD on Berkeley Parents Network

"If you were to see a picture of the nipple while breastfeeding, you would see that your nipple goes way back past the teeth area of your toddler's mouth. I know it's hard to believe that it stretches back that far, but it does. The milk doesn't ''stand'' in the mouth as your dentist may have told you. This is La Leche League's stand on the issue. As they state in ''The Womanly art of Breastfeeding,'' ''Studies have shown that breastfeeding itself doesn not cause tooth decay.'' In fact according to one study they cite, breastfed children ''had lower levels of decay.'' Good brushing is strongly recommended. I would suggest that if you are concerned enough to stop nursing, than I would contact La Leche League for yourself and ask a specialist. "

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