STATES CHRONICLE – Women have different opinions on how long they should breastfeed their children. To settle this debate, a team of scientists developed a study which proves breastfeeding after the age of two increases the children’s risk to develop serious cavities. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.
Prolonged breastfeeding is not that good
The analysis began in 2004 in Brazil, in the city of Pelotas. There, 4,231 babies underwent close examinations immediately after birth, at three months of age, one year, and four years. Also, apart from the examination, scientists interviewed the parents of each child.
In 2009, 1,303 of these children were regarded as eligible to receive an oral examination. Experts looked for S-ECC (severe early childhood caries), as well as dmfs (decayed, missing, or filled surfaces of primary teeth). They also monitored sugar consumption, which came from both how much sugar the children consumed, as well as bottle feeding during night.
This is how they discovered those children whose mothers had breastfed them after the age of two had a 2.4 percent higher risk of developing severe cavities. However, those who had been breastfed for only one year, or up until two years, were not affected.
Why does breastfeeding increase the risk of developing cavities?
Researchers suspect night feeding might be to blame, since it’s more difficult to clean the teeth afterwards. Also, human milk has a different composition than cow milk. It is much richer in lactose, which affects the dental plaque.
Breastfeeding comes with a lot of benefits for both children and mothers. For children, it reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, or obesity, as well as improving cognitive abilities. On the other hand, mothers can lose weight, lower their blood pressure, and reduce the risk of strokes if they breastfeed their children.
Despite all these benefits, mothers should not continue breastfeeding their children after the age of two. Therefore, researchers want to promote new guidelines and inform women on how they should take care of their babies.
Image Source: Flickr