My daughter has been exclusively breastfed. She about to turn one and everyone says she needs a one year check up. But, I’ve heard EBF babies don’t need that check-up because it’s a totally different way of eating than bottles. Which is true?
One thing parents quickly learn is every piece of advice is usually contradicted by another piece of advice. Very rarely do even the “experts” agree. Even dentists who treat children have varying ages they want to see the child for their first appointment.
You’re certainly correct that bottle feeding and breastfeeding are completely different.
Pediatric Dental Advantages of Breastfeeding
There is growing evidence that breastmilk contains properties which fight bacteria. That means your daughter is boosting her immune system every time she eats which helps keep her healthy.
Bottle feeding tends to pool in the mouth and comes in contact with the infant’s teeth. The motions involved with breastfeeding, on the other hand, draw the milk to the back of the mouth, initiating the swallowing reflex. The milk isn’t in contact with the teeth nearly as much.
Reasons for Breastfed Babies to Get a Pediatric Check-Up
Many breastfed babies fall asleep while nursing. If there’s a lot of milk left in their mouth when that happens, then there is a slight risk of pooling, as you get with bottle fed babes. In this case, there is a slight risk of decay. Not as much as bottle-fed children, but the potential is there.
To me, this is the biggest reason for a check-up. Teeth begin developing in the womb and everyone’s genetics are different. Even with perfect oral hygiene, some patients are just more prone to decay than others.
If there’s any type of genetic issue which needs to be dealt with, the earlier it’s caught and dealt with the better, both for the child and your pocketbook.
Common Pediatric Dental Mistakes Parents Make
Whether you do that one-year-old check-up or not, don’t make these common errors:
Waiting until there’s a dental issue
You definitely don’t want your child’s first experience with the dentist to be when there’s a painful issue to be dealt with. Many adults developed their dental anxieties in childhood with a traumatic appointment.
Not brushing toddler’s teeth
Some parents don’t think new teeth need brushing. They do. Other parents do realize they need to brush their teeth, but they have an independent toddler who wants to do it themselves. That’s fine to let them practice, but always brush after them to make sure you get their teeth thoroughly cleaned.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Leo Davis.