England: breastfeeding crucial for infant dental health, says PHE

08 February 2019

Public Health England (PHE) has highlighted how important breastfeeding is in protecting infant dental health.

It says that dental teams should continue to support and encourage mothers to breastfeed, that not being breastfed is associated with an increased risk of infectious morbidity, and breastfeeding up to 12 months of age is associated with a decreased risk of tooth decay.

Further advice for dental teams can be found in Health matters: child dental health (2017), which states: ‘Health professionals, such as midwives and health visitors, should support and encourage women to breastfeed.

‘Creating the right environment to promote this is crucial. The Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative provides a robust evidence-based framework to develop a whole-systems approach to breastfeeding.’

Unicef said it welcomed the statement and urged UK governments to recognise breastfeeding in all other relevant policies, including sustainability.

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