Breastfeeding to sleep...cavities? — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

Breastfeeding to sleep...cavities?

It seems most of the info I've come across says breastfeeding babies to sleep and overnight does not cause cavities and rather bottle-feeding (past age 1) does.  Some may suggest differently and also mention cavities might come from breastfeeding at night past age 2.  Anyone have experience with baby cavities from breastfeeding to sleep and overnight?
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Re: Breastfeeding to sleep...cavities?

  • I breastfed both of my babies to 2 and beyond, especially at night, and never brushed their teeth afterwards, and neither has any cavities.
  • Upper lip ties are known to lead to oral decay of the front top teeth and tongue ties are known to increase risk of cavities elsewhere. These are often the underlying reason young children end up with decay or cavities, not whether they were breast or bottle fed.
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  • The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says that tooth decay can happen to babies that are both bottle fed and breastfeed. No matter how you feed your LO, once they get their first tooth you are supposed to wipe it down after each feeding. Sounds excessive, but that is what they recommend regardless of whether they get formula or BM.
  • My understanding is if baby's teeth are not brushed well or wiped well before the night feed the combo of food particals & breastmilk is what leads to decay.

    DD1 born 5/24/10.

    Missed M/C at 14 wks Feb 2012.

    DD2 born 5/14/13.

    Missed M/C at 9 wks July 2015.

    Expecting someone new 4/17/17.
  • BriDaily said:

    Upper lip ties are known to lead to oral decay of the front top teeth and tongue ties are known to increase risk of cavities elsewhere. These are often the underlying reason young children end up with decay or cavities, not whether they were breast or bottle fed.


    Um, no. Not necessarily true.
  • I always read that babies usually swallow what they suck when they are breastfeeding.  The nipple is far back in the mouth and the milk tends to go down the throat rather than running out of the holes in a bottle nipple and pooling in the child's mouth and around the teeth. 

    This made sense to me, however, my kids are older and this info may now be outdated.  Check with your pediatrician or dentist maybe?
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • QuazelQuazel member
    Hi AP mommas! I was around at the inception of this board about 7 years ago. I'm so happy to be TTC and checking in here!!

    FWIW, my 6 year old had an eating issue. He didn't start solids or put anything in his mouth until he was 2.5. He nursed until 3 and also had specially made smoothies from 18 months - 3 years. He night nursed for 2.5 years to meet his nutritional needs.

    All of that to say, we were unable to brush his teeth due to his resistance to putting anything in his mouth. He had to see a specialty dentist and be held down to clean his teeth (AWFUL as a parent but he was fine the moment he was done). He did end up having a small cavity that didn't have to be repaired until he was 4. The dentist said he rarely sees cavities in BF babies.

    I don't know if we were just lucky it wasn't worse but I'm sure most people are able to clean LO's teeth better so hopefully you won't have an issue.
  • Well I can't remember when I night weaned my oldest, 13 months I think, I know it was before he weaned completely at 15 months and my second stopped night nursing right after 2.  Neither one has had a single cavity, their dentist says their teeth look great, not a spot on them.

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  • My sister has this problem. She was still BF her daughter, mostly at night, at age 2.5. She noticed some brown spots on her teeth. She had to have 5 cavities repaired! She had to find a special pediatric dentist to take care of the issue. He told her that this is not an uncommon issue with nighttime extended BF. This spurred her to quit BF. 
  • I'm a registered dental assistant. Breastfeeding and bottle feeding at night will not cause cavities as long and your babies teeth are cleaned before they sleep at night. Milk sitting on the teeth through the night is what could cause decay.
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