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Breastfeeding and Oral Health

Background

One of the obstacles to continued breastfeeding beyond six months, as recommended by the HHS Healthy People 2010 goals, is the conflicting information about breastfeeding and oral health. Some dental health experts have stated that early weaning is recommended to promote oral health. This is in conflict with breastfeeding expert recommendations, the statements of the Institute of Medicine and American Academy of Pediatrics, and the health goals of the nation.

While implementation strategies have been identified and prioritized for breastfeeding in general, specific issues in relation to oral health need to be addressed by a thorough review of the medical and dental research literature regarding oral health in the young child.

This issue paper was developed to reconcile the traditionally conflicting opinions held by experts in the breastfeeding community with those held by the pediatric oral health community regarding breastfeeding and oral health. A literature search of current scientific data was conducted and an expert panel was convened to resolve the issues.

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