Prolonged breastfeeding can increase the risk of dental cavities, new study claims
A new study has suggested that prolonged breastfeeding can increase the risk of severe dental decay in young children. Researchers from the University of Adelaide found that children who were breastfed up to and beyond the age of 2 years old were more likely to develop severe cavities by the time they reached the age of 5 years old than those who were not breastfed past the age of 12 months.
Researchers from the Australian university analysed data collected from more 1,100 children living in Pelatos, Barzil. The area has access to fluoridated water and all the children involved in the study were born in 2004. Karen Glazer Peres and her team collected information related to breastfeeding at the ages of 3 months, 12 months and 2 years old. They also analysed sugar consumption at the ages of 2,4 and 5 years old.
The study findings suggested that 24 percent of children had severe decay (classified as having 6 or more missing teeth or teeth with fillings or cavities) by the age of 5. A quarter of the total number of children were breastfed until the age of 2. Within this group, rates of severe decay were higher and children were also 2.4 times more likely to develop early childhood decay than those who were only breastfed up to the age of 12 months.
The authors of the study took sugar consumption into account during the analysis and evaluation stages and they concluded that prolonged breastfeeding is a risk factor for severe decay in children. The research team endorsed breastfeeding as the “optimal source of infant nutrition”, but suggested that mothers should be made aware of the potential risks involved with breastfeeding older children.