BREASTFEEDING – THE PERSPECTIVE OF PAEDIATRIC DENTIST
Current recommendations by the European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry, American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry, and International Association of Paediatric Dentistry advocate weaning from breast milk and avoiding unrestricted breastfeeding after the eruption of primary teeth in order to lower the risk of early childhood caries (ECC). However, World Health Organization, American Academy of Paediatrics and nutritional recommendations support exclusive breastfeeding up to six months of age, following continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods, favouring unrestricted and prolonged breastfeeding even beyond the age of two. The purpose of this review is to discuss current data in the literature regarding the association between breastfeeding and ECC in order to address this problem and to provide consistent recommendations. PubMed search revealed possible link between breastfeeding and ECC, however without evidence strong enough to establish the appropriate oral health preventive recommendation. Having in mind known benefits of breastfeeding, it is advisable to adhere to current paediatric guidelines which promote unrestricted breastfeeding as long as it is mutually desired by mother and child. This recommendation doesn’t exclude but complements the prevention and timely treatment of ECC. Furthermore, there is a need to highlight the importance of education of parents and health care providers about the ECC risk factors, identification of initial lesions and consequences. Further research regarding this issue is needed.
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