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Breastfeeding-Cavities Link Disputed

Study Shows Breastfeeding Doesn’t Raise the Risk of Tooth Decay in Children
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 1, 2007 -- Breastfeeding isn’t likely to cause dental cavities or raise the risk of early childhood tooth decay, according to a new study.

Researchers say some reports have linked prolonged breastfeeding with a higher risk of childhood cavities, although there is little evidence to support this claim.

For example, a recent animal study suggested that breast milk was more likely to cause cavities than cow’s milk, but this hasn’t been confirmed in human studies.

In the new study, published in Pediatrics, researchers compared the duration of breastfeeding and the risk of dental cavities in more than 1,500 children aged 2 to 5.

The results provided no evidence that breastfeeding -- or its duration -- is associated with dental cavities or tooth decay in children.

Poverty, being Mexican-American, or having a mother who smoked were linked to greater risk for dental cavities among young children.

Researcher Hiroko Lida, DDS, of the University of Rochester and colleagues say the study should put to rest any concerns about breastfeeding and cavities.

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