How Breastfeeding Protects Your Kids From Needing Braces


Moms know that breastfeeding comes with a host of benefits, but here's a new one: A new study by researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia has found that breastfeeding benefits baby's teeth, too.


Researchers tracked over 1,300 children up until the 5-year mark, tabulating how often and long they breastfed. They also examined the baby's teeth and jaws to see if they had an overbite, cross-bite, open-bite, or other misalignment in their teeth that could require braces. 

The results? Babies who exclusively breastfed for three to six months had a one-third lower risk of an overbite and 41 percent lower risk of a severe misalignment in their teeth compared to babies who took bottles during that time. And the longer the babies breastfed, the lower those risks. 

More from The Stir: Caring for Your Child's Teeth: The Baby Years

Anyway, consider this a nice added benefit if you breastfeed your kids: Odds are low you'll need braces! It also goes to show how breastfeeding helps long before babies even break their first tooth.

As for the reason, it has less to do with breast milk, but the act of breastfeeding itself. The researchers theorize that the reason for this is that breastfeeding helps develop the jaw muscles in a healthy way that bottles do not.

What's more, babies who breastfed but used pacifiers were slightly more likely to have teeth trouble -- a decent reason to curb binkies as well as bottles.

Do you think breastfeeding benefited your baby's teeth?


Image via Evgeny Atamanenko/shutterstock

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