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    Malocclusion Rates Rise in Bottle-fed Babies

    Malocclusion Rates Rise

    The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous for both the mother and the baby. Breast milk is composed of exactly the right amount of nutrients for an infant and breastfeeding can prevent certain conditions and improve the overall health of the baby. However, there is more to breastfeeding than just the benefits of breast milk. By studying how a baby breastfeeds versus how a baby sucks while being fed from a bottle, we can see a distinct difference in the baby's facial development.

    An infant has soft spots in the head that harden as the child ages. The way the skull develops sets the child up for eating solid foods later in life. In the past, babies were routinely breastfed for two to four years. Now, most parents introduce bottles early in life.

    Breastfeeding involves complex motions in a baby's facial muscles and mouth. When a child nurses at the breast, the nipple is pushed around the front of the teeth and palate is pushed forward. This helps the child develop a wider, forward palate. When in an infant is fed from a bottle, they do not suckle in the same way. This results in a deeper, more narrow palate that can lead to malocclusion later in life.

    Studies have shown that breastfeeding for at least six months can prevent a lot of dental problems. One such study compiled information from 10,000 babies. Results showed that breastfed babies were 40 percent less likely to need orthodontic treatment later in life.  By six months, the differences can easily be seen. A breastfed baby has higher cheekbones, while a bottle-fed baby will have narrow cheekbones. This shows a trend that continues to rise and malocclusion rates continue to rise, as well.

    The nutritional value of the food the baby receives is also important. Not only does the mechanical act of breastfeeding play a role in facial development, but the nutrition does, as well. Commercial formula is manufactured with chemicals and additives that do not offer the type of nutrition a baby needs to develop strong, healthy bones and teeth. Breastmilk has the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are essential for proper development of the bones and jaw in the face. Without these nutrients, a baby will have an underdeveloped jaw, which can lead to crowding of the teeth and eventually tooth decay later in life. It is also worth noting that parents can actually prevent a lot of dental  and health problems by following a healthy, nutrient-rich diet before conception. The parents nutritional intake before conception, and the mother's nutritional intake during pregnancy and while breastfeeding all play a large role in helping a baby develop healthy bones and teeth.

    Breastfeeding is not only important for the overall health of an infant, but also for the dental health and facial development of the infant.


    Sears. Why breast is best Retrieved from:

    Photo Credit: Olivier Hodac from Flickr

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  • Laicee 11:33 pm on November 2, 2011 Permalink

    Great article, thank you again for wriitng.

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