Public Health England has today published a statement on breastfeeding and dental health. This includes the current evidence and core messaging for dental teams and healthcare professionals and features a new infographic. The key messages include:
- dental teams should continue to support and encourage mothers to breastfeed
- not being breastfed is associated with an increased risk of infectious morbidity (for example gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, middle-ear infections)
- breastfeeding up to 12 months of age is associated with a decreased risk of tooth decay
- exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for around the first 6 months of life − complementary foods should be introduced from around 6 months of age alongside continued breastfeeding
- the prevalence of breastfeeding in UK is low, with 34% of mothers still breastfeeding their child at 6 months and only 1% exclusively breastfeeding.