Nursing is good for babies: a known fact!

Par Dr. Normand Bach 04/09/2018

There are a lot of good reasons why a plethora of brochures from all sorts of accredited sources extolls the benefits of breastfeeding. A multitude of serious studies has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that mother’s milk contains elements that are essential to an infant’s development, including antimicrobial compounds, vitamins and minerals, enzymes that facilitate digestion, and the sugars and fats that supply the baby’s cells with the energy they need. All that and more! Needless to say, breastfeeding also enables the mother and child to develop bonds that are important for the child’s future emotional development. But what’s a blog entry on breastfeeding doing here?

Development of facial muscles

Breastfeeding is such a natural reflex that few of us ever stop to reflect on how it may be beneficial to the teeth. The fact is that a nursing baby has to call on various facial muscles in order to draw out the milk. The muscles of the tongue, lips, cheeks, and jaw all work together. A baby’s chin, which is recessed by nature, comes forward as the facial muscles develop.

But what does that have to do with teeth?

The relationship between nursing and teeth is precisely the fact that the facial muscles come into play when breastfeeding. It’s the development of these muscles that create a favorable environment for the teeth to come in without any problems. In addition to the other known benefits, breastfeeding lays the necessary framework for the harmonious development of the face in general. While there are no guarantees, reliable sources indicate that breastfeeding is very effective at reducing the risks of the types of malocclusions that are observed in many patients these days. In order for the baby to reap the optimum benefits of nursing, the ideal period for exclusive breastfeeding is considered to be from 6 to 12 months.

How does breastfeeding compare with bottle feeding?

There are a number of reasons why certain parents might choose bottle feeding over breastfeeding. It might be because the mother has to return to work early or because, for one reason or another, she can’t produce enough milk. In short, we all adapt as well as we can when a newborn arrives. You should just keep in mind that, when it comes to the development of the teeth, bottle feeding isn’t as beneficial as breastfeeding. Basically, babies don’t need to rely as much on their facial muscles when using a bottle as when nursing. In the long run, this may make a difference in the development of the muscles that are necessary for the ideal positioning of the jaw.

Conclusion

It’s normal to feel a bit bewildered when a new baby arrives. There’s a lot of contradictory information on the internet, and new parents can quickly feel lost. If this is the case, remember to consult reliable sources, such as government publications, or follow the recommendations of accredited professionals. Once again, if you have any concerns, your orthodontist is still the best person to answer your questions!

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