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News / January 30, 2014

Breastfeeding aids babies’ dental health

by Guy Hiscott

Breastfeeding could help newborn babies fight off oral disease, research has uncovered.

A team from Sweden’s Umeå University found that breast milk boosts the concentration of lactobacillus bacteria in babies’ mouths.

And these benefits carry on during an infant’s life, with the saliva of breastfed children allowing the beneficial bacteria to colonise the mouth in much greater numbers in later years.

Lactobacillus is known to inhibit the growth of microorganisms that cause gum disease, caries, oral-sinus infections and ear infections.

The findings also noted that the saliva of breastfed babies could help them stave oral disease in the future.

Researchers compared the saliva of four-month-old babies who were fed breast milk with those who were fed by formula. They found ‘significant’ lactobacilli counts in a third of the breastfed babies, while only a few of the babies fed on formula had colonised the bacteria.

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