Breastfeeding is the universal symbol of motherhood, it conjures up the the images of warmth and that otherworldly bubble where mother and child connect not only physically but also emotionally.
But is too much of a good thing bad? So it seems.
According to researchers at the University of Califormia, half of the children that are being breastfed after the age of 2 may develop caries. In a study conducted in Brazil it was found that around 40% of children that were being breastfed from 6 to 24 months developed at least one cavity. But this percentage increases when children are breastfed past two years of age.
This research monitored a total of 458 children in Porto Alegre. The investigating team leaded by Professor Benjamin Chaffee visited these children at ages 6, 12 and 38 months old with trained dentists.
During their first visit the researchers would collect detailed data about the baby´s nutrition, including the volume of breast milk they were being fed and also any other liquids that they were given such as juice.
The next visit would coincide with these children´s first birthday and by this time their diet already included, meat, fruits, vegetables, beans, cookies, chocolate milk and honey amongst others.
It was found that around fifty percent of the children in the study by the age of 6 months would start to consume at least one bottle of prepared formula and most babies were continued to be fed mother´s milk until the age of 1.
Chaffee does not discourage mother´s milk, he suggests that there is a health consideration when children are breastfed past two years of age.
The main point is that as the baby grows, he or she will not only live off from breast milk, most often infant formula is also fed and later on other foods are included so as to make sure the infant will have all the nutrients necessary for growth. Thus breast milk is given to the child with other foods and somehow this accelerates tooth decay.
It was noted for children who are mainly breastfed for longer periods of time they will also need to be breastfed more frequently, and those who were breastfed most frequently did also presented more cavities. Another factor that accelerates the development of cavities in children is the bottle.
Feeding a bottle to your child will disrupt the natural feeding process since less saliva is produced and this will also create the perfect environment for tooth decay.
By: Prisma Dental
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