Breast-feeding found to reduce ortho problems

Babies who breast-feed exclusively are less likely to engage in thumb sucking and other "non-nutritive sucking habits," with benefits for their teeth, researchers at the University of Naples have concluded.

For a study published online July 23, 2010, in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, the researchers surveyed parents of 1,451 children ages 7-11 about their infant's feeding and sucking habits. A clinical examination of the kids' dental arches included classification of molar relationship (Angle classification), presence or absence of crossbite, and open bite.

They found that children with bottle or complementary feeding were more likely to get into non-nutritive sucking habits at age 1 (p < 0.01). These sucking habits in turn were associated with a greater risk of crossbite, open bite, and class II molar relationship (p < 0.01).

The researchers concluded that parents should be taught that exclusive breast-feeding in the first six months of age will benefit kids' teeth, and that health professionals should be on the lookout for non-nutritive sucking.

Copyright © 2010

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