Many pediatric health experts have confirmed that if a mother can manage it, “breast is best” when it comes to feeding their babies. While the American Pediatric Association recommends breastfeeding for up to a year, a recent study confirms that breastfeeding much longer than that can lead to dental problems for young children.
In a published research study, 1,129 Brazilian children were evaluated by dentists at age 5. Of those children, the ones who had been breastfed for more than 2 years were found twice as likely to have severe cavities. What’s the correlation? It seems to have a lot to do with what time of day children are breastfeeding. Typically, babies breastfeed whenever they want, without much of a concrete schedule. When baby teeth begin to come in, it can be hard to clean these teeth between feedings, since they can be somewhat sporadic.
Breastfeeding up to 24 months is probably okay for children. After all, there are dental benefits associated with breastfeeding too. For example, babies who are breastfed are less likely to have their teeth grow in crooked. Just make sure if you continue to breastfeed your children after 24 months that you’re consulting regularly with their dentist, and you’re helping them to practice good oral health habits.