Can my child develop decay from nursing?
At Sporting Smiles, a child’s general health and well-being is our top priority. We support breastfeeding but also recommend that mothers take the steps necessary to prevent ‘nursing caries’ from developing in their children.
The World Health Organization strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, other foods should be introduced and complement breastfeeding for up to two years or more.
Breast milk gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development. It contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses. Breast milk also contains sugars similar to those found in the sweet beverages that lead to decay.
Our recommendation is to avoid nursing a child to sleep. If a child does fall asleep, simply wiping their teeth, gums, and tongue with moistened gauze, cloth, or a silicone rubber fingertip toothbrush can greatly reduce the chances of developing decay.