(While breastfeeding is important to a child’s health, it is not always possible. In such cases, your paediatrician and dentist can formulate a plan to avoid any potential problems developing due to alternate feeding methods. Email us directly to find out more.)
There are a number of cases where breastfeeding is impossible. Some babies refuse to latch, or can have allergic reactions to their mother’s milk. In these cases, vigilance is the key to the healthy growth of your baby’s face and jaw. At Artarmon Dentists, we provide children’s dentistry for patients of all ages, in Chatswood West, and throughout the northern suburbs. Contact us for advice on how to encourage healthy development and growth for your young ones.
The early days of an infant’s life are crucial to their development, and few elements of this periods aids them like breastfeeding does. The benefits are numerous: a baby gains vital antibodies and nutrients from their mother, elements that are not gained through bottle feeding with synthetic milk. The odds of nappy rash and thrush are lessened, and the development and growth of the baby’s jaw are aided considerably. This has some profound implications for their dental health, both in the short term, and down the road.
- What is the importance of properly feeding your baby with regards to the prevention of oral dysfunctions?
Methods of feeding your baby alter the growth of the jawbone, muscles, and the shape of the emerging teeth. Breast-feeding requires the baby to move their jaw in a method that encourages the growth of jaw muscles, shapes the oral cavity, and the emergence, and eventual layout, of the teeth. This activity, by and large, plays a lesser role in bottle feeding.
- What is the correct breastfeeding position? Why is it important?
The correct posture and orientation of the baby to the nipple allows the baby to breathe through their nose as they suckle. Improper breastfeeding requires the baby to continue to latch and unlatch repeatedly, as they will be obliged to mouth-breathe during feeding times. It is therefore vital to keep the nose clear, and position the child to allow for this.
- What is the importance of masticating muscle development?
Proper masticating muscle development prepares the infant to break food when they eventually begin a solid diet. Mandibular muscle development comes as a result of ‘milking’ the breast with forward/backward jaw movements while feeding, which encourages this growth. This motion is mostly absent among bottle feeders.
- Why is the first month important for breastfeeding? What happens during this time?
The first month will set the tone for proper breastfeeding practices throughout those important six months, but most importantly, it offers key nutrients and antibodies to the child, and encourages a close bond between mother and baby.
- What ailments can breastfeeding avoid?
Modern humans exhibit more dental alignment problems then that seen in prior periods in human history, as the fossil record has shown us. It has been hypothesised that a rise in bottle-feeding is responsible for an increase in malocclusions, the misalignment of the closing of the two arches of the jaw, and anterior open bites, when there is no gap between the upper and lower incisors, causing them to interfere with each other. This has been postulated to be due to breast-fed infants being less likely to use pacifiers or suck digits than their bottle-fed peers.
Studies have shown how abnormal swallow patterns, including an action known as tongue thrust, are higher among infants who are bottle fed, as they are not obliged to follow the ‘suck-swallow-breath’ method of those who feed off the breast. Unnatural swallowing patterns can lead to underdeveloped maxilla among infants, a problem that can be exacerbated by accompanying underdeveloped jaw muscles. This can lead to abnormal facial growth and mouth breathing, a key factor in many gum diseases, as it dries out the mouth and reduces the ability of your mouth to clean itself of bacteria.
- Why are malocclusions on the rise in modern man compared to primitive man?
This has been attributed to a wide number of causes, including the growth and evolution of brain size among modern humans, dietary changes, and more. However, most recently, it has been postulated that the abnormal growth of facial and mandibular muscles in bottle-fed babies puts them at a considerably higher risk of developing malocclusions.