Dentists welcome baby feeding report
Updated guidance on feeding in the first year of life published this month by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has been welcomed by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD).
Updated guidance on feeding in the first year of life published this month by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has been welcomed by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry.
Professor Emeritus Andrew Rugg-Gunn, BSPD’s expert and a former member of the SACN panel, commented: 'I welcome this report and the inclusion of the chapter on oral health, rightly emphasising its importance in the general development of infants.
'Both BSPD and I were delighted to have been given the opportunity to provide input, ensuring that this document is representative and that all concerned with children’s oral health can speak with one voice.'
The report, Feeding in the First Year of Life, states that breastfeeding up to 12 months has oral health benefits and is associated with a decreased risk of dental caries. It goes on to mention that some limited observational evidence suggests that once the primary teeth erupt, factors such as breastfeeding ad libitum, nocturnal feeding and sleeping with the breast in the mouth may be associated with increased risk of dental caries.
BSPD President Claire Stevens says: 'This report quite rightly stresses the value and importance of breastfeeding up to the age of 12 months but highlights there may be a risk of early childhood caries associated with long-term breastfeeding.'
It’s valuable for all organisations working in the interests of children’s health to be aware that long-term and on demand breast feeding may be a risk factor for early childhood caries, as highlighted in our own position statement. More research is needed and we look forward to further guidance from SACN on feeding children after the age of one.
'In the meantime, we are delighted that BSPD’s Dental Check by One campaign gets a mention. PHE and Jenny Godson in particular have been very supportive of Dental Check by One, a valuable strategy for exposing families to early preventive advice and getting children onto the best start to their oral health journey.'
Author: Julie Bissett