Prolonged breastfeeding may increase risk of cavities in primary teeth

A study from Brazil has provided new evidence that breastfeeding after the eruption of the child’s teeth can lead to an increased risk of caries. Early childhood caries has been identified as a significant public health problem that is primarily associated with high consumption of sugary liquids, beverages and foods, such as juices and soft drinks.

In order to establish an association between breastfeeding and severe early childhood caries, researchers examined the oral health status of 715 infants from low-income families in Porto Alegre.

They found that the prevalence of caries was highest in children who were breastfed at 24 months or beyond compared with babies who had been breastfed until 12 months or younger. In addition, they observed that high-frequency breastfeeding increased the association between long-duration breastfeeding and caries.

Exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age is recommended by the World Health Organization. However, the organization also recommends continuing breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to 2 years of age, even though several case studies have linked prolonged on-demand and nocturnal breastfeeding to early childhood caries, primarily because breast milk is considered a critical source of energy and nutrients.

The study, titled “Association of Long-Duration Breastfeeding and Dental Caries Estimated With Marginal Structural Models,” was published online on Feb. 19 in the Annals of Epidemiology. It was conducted by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, in collaboration with the Universidade Luterana do Brasil and Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre.

Original Source: The Dental