The Oral Benefits of Breastfeeding


September 26, 2023

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I'm a functional + airway dentist helping mamas get back to the basics for achieving oral and overall health for their families. I'm sharing my best tips and advice for simple, joyful health right here on my blog. It's all in the name of good motherhood.
Hi! I'm Dr. Molly.

Breast milk has been lovingly nicknamed “liquid gold” in the last few years, and I don’t disagree. Breast milk can do no wrong in my book.

But the actual act of breastfeeding? That’s the real gold, in my book.

It is in this simple (and sometimes monotonous and often exhausting) act that you are helping your baby’s oral cavity, jaws, tongue, and airway develop properly.

Curious about it? Let’s talk about all of the oral benefits of breastfeeding.

Proper Jaw and Facial Development: 

Breastfeeding requires the infant to create a strong latch on the mother’s breast. The tongue presses the nipple to the roof of the mouth (the palate) in order to expel the milk. This action is what helps to broaden and flatten the palate, which will create more room for the teeth to one day come into their natural spot. The natural sucking action promotes proper jaw alignment and the development of the facial muscles. The baby’s tongue movement during breastfeeding also exercises the muscles needed for speech development and assists in the formation of a well-balanced facial structure. This can help prevent issues like malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth) and narrow palates, which can affect breathing and overall oral health.

Facilitates Nasal Breathing

Breastfed infants tend to breathe through their noses while feeding. Nasal breathing is essential for the development of the upper airway, including the nasal passages and sinuses. It helps ensure that these airways remain unobstructed and function optimally. Proper nasal breathing contributes to healthier growth and development of the face and airway, reducing the risk of issues like mouth breathing, snoring, and sleep apnea later in life.

Prevents Dental Issues

Breast milk provides optimal nutrition for infants, including essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, which are crucial for the development of strong teeth and bones. Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of early childhood caries (cavities) and gum disease, ensuring that the oral cavity remains healthy. Additionally, the action of breastfeeding helps stimulate the development of the baby’s facial and oral muscles, which can contribute to a well-formed palate and reduced risk of dental issues such as crowded or misaligned teeth.

Breastfeeding is the first of many good habits that will help ensure your baby grows up as healthy as possible. I’ve laid out many more habits and how-to’s in the guide Traditional Beginnings: A New Parent’s Primer to Holistic Oral and Airway Health from the Womb to Age Three. I want new moms and dads to feel confident in raising children who do not suffer from crooked teeth, snoring, speech problems, or painful cavities. The foundations for oral health are all laid out in this detailed and easy-to-read guide.

This guide is filled with practice advice for parents who wish to help their children avoid braces and tooth decay as older children. Inside the guide you’ll find all you need to know about…

Prenatal health for healthy moms and babies

Pacifiers and thumb-sucking

Starting solids

Holistic sleep tips

Choosing the right cups

Nutrition for strong teeth and jaw bones

And more!

The world (ahem, social media) will tell you that babies need hundreds of different things in order to thrive. As a dentist who has observed both thriving and very unhealthy children, I can tell you for certain that babies and toddlers need very few things: a mother who breastfeeds, nutrient-dense foods, sleep, and the love of their parents.

Save yourself the hassle of facing dental issues down the road with your little one. This guide is only $30 and will save you an enormous amount of stress! Grab it now and help your baby blossom. You can download a copy right here.

To raising healthy babies,

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