National Breastfeeding Week

1 Oct 2012


The Dental Health supports the HSE National Breastfeeding Week which takes place from October 1st-7th 2012. The Dental Health Foundation supports breastfeeding and acknowledges the benefits that breast feeding has for mother and baby. For more information on the benefits, please click here.

While it is acknowledged that breastfeeding is the best option for mother and baby, it is not always possible and in Ireland approximately 50% of mothers do not breastfeed. With regards to formula feeding, the Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health makes recommendations on how to reconstitute baby formula.

Infant Formula
- Infant formula should continue to be reconstituted with boiled tap water in accordance with manufacturers' instructions. Alternatively, ready-to-feed formula can be used.
- The use of bottled water to reconstitute infant formula is not recommended unless the labelling indicates its suitability for such use.

You can download a 'Whats up Mum?' app from the Android or App Store which will provide you with information on pregnancy, birth and parenthood and more details are available here.

Mother to mother support is a real feature of breastfeeding and parenting support in Ireland, and can be found at a local Public Health Nurse, La Leche League or CUIDIÚ breastfeeding and parenting support group meeting. Details of groups in each county are available on or by calling 1850 24 1850.

For details on the presentations made at the "Breastfeeding in Ireland 2012: Consequences and Policy Responses" conference run by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) on Monday October 1st please click here.

Oral health and breastfeeding/bottle feeding:

The baby's front teeth will usually begin to come through the gum between the age of 6-12 months, over the following two years, remaining teeth will grow so that by the time the child is three years old the primary dentition is usually complete. It is important that teeth are cleaned from the time they appear, once a child's teeth appear they are at risk of tooth decay.

To clean your baby's teeth, start by initially wrapping piece of gauze around a finger and rubbing the teeth and gums gently. In this way establish a cleaning habit early and the baby will become accustomed to it. When the baby's molar's (back teeth) appear around 14 months, start using a small soft toothbrush with tap water. From 2 years upward you will need to use a little toothpaste-about the size of a pea.

Diet and oral health:

It is important to ensure that your child has a diet which contributes to rather than damages their teeth. One of the most common ways in which a child's teeth are damaged is to give the child a bottle containing sweetened liquids after the age of one year, either as a pacifier during the day, or at nap or night-time.

Allowing the sweetened liquid to pool around the teeth for long periods of time produces acid. This, in time, weakens and eventually decays the teeth. In severe cases Nursing Bottle Mouth can develop. It is a condition where the infant's teeth are almost completely destroyed. All sweetened liquids, soft drinks, sugared waters, juices, vitamin drinks (even milk) will cause this problem. A similar problem can arise from giving the baby a soother dipped in honey or sugar. Generally a baby will be able to use a cup by 6 months and they can usually be weaned off a bottle at 12 months.

Click here to read the handy booklet 'Healthy Teeth for Life'.

Publication cover - Healthy teeth for life