A recent study done in Brazil led by a doctoral student from the University of California at Berkeley explored the question if extended breastfeeding is bad for your baby. Many parents are already aware that leaving a bottle either containing formula or breast milk in the crib overnight is not suggested and can contribute to tooth decay. What this new study finds is tantamount to the same thing. As with all studies, results should be taken with a grain of salt and speaking with your child’s pediatrician is encouraged.
This particular study was conducted over the period of a year. The focus group included over 400 families from a low income part of Brazil. Babies were also eating solid foods and drinking other liquids at some point during the study. It was suggested that excessive consumption of sugar (and not exclusively breastfeeding) contributed to the decay.
Dental care to prevent cavities is also encouraged to prevent tooth decay and cavities. Some parents began brushing their children’s teeth as soon as they erupt. Brushing a baby’s teeth can be done with a cloth, Q-tip, or small finger brush; any of these is acceptable to remove bacteria. As toddlers, children can be instructed on how to handle the brush themselves. It really is not too early to begin good oral hygiene; not only brushing teeth but also flossing and even mouthwash.
Breastfeeding is a private choice between families, as is how long you choose to continue and what age you wean your child. Consult your pediatrician with any concerns regarding feeding issues you may have; a healthy baby with good nutrition is the goal of all parents.
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