How does Breast Feeding affect Jaw and Facial Development?

Breast Feeding helps the development of Jaw Muscles and Alignment, and Airway. This helps lead to less Orthodontic Expenses and prevents TMJ Pain and Sleep Apnea in Adulthood.

breast feeding tmj pain

Left: A child who did not breast feed. Note small jaws. Right: child who breast fed for 2 years with well developed jaws and airway.

Conditions such as Tongue Tie should be treated as they interfere with Breast Feeding and Jaw Development.

tongue tie

When a Tongue is Tied down, it cannot reach the Palate and it has a Limited Range of Motion. The Tongue pushes on the Jaws during normal swallowing, breathing and breast feeding. The proper pressure and range of the tongue “pushes” and “shapes” the Jaws. A Tied Tongue directly limits growth and development. Tongue Tie is easily corrected with a laser. There is no bleeding and minimal discomfort. The procedure is called a Frenectomy.

Breastfeeding is a healthy activity for both mothers and infants. Research has shown that breast feeding helps in preventing many health disorders in lactating mothers. Growth and development in babies is greatly enhanced by Breast Feeding. The physical action of a baby’s mouth opening around a mother’s breast helps the upper and lower jaws develop properly. Natural breast milk is considered as the perfect and balanced diet for growing children. 

  • Breast milk varies in composition as the baby grows and becomes older.
  • Nature has a built-in mechanism which mixes nutrients in breast milk according to the demands of an infant’s developing body.
  • Breast milk contains extremely beneficial antibodies, enzymes and minerals as compared to formula milks available in the market.

Antibodies and enzymes which are naturally present in mother’s milk can protect babies from different diseases and infections. Breastfeeding babies have stronger defense system against harmful bacteria. In addition to the presence of beneficial natural ingredients in mother’s milk, the mechanism by which babies drink mother’s milk can cause better growth and development. During the process of milk suckling in breast feeding,

  • The infants and small babies use their tongue, jaws and muscles of face a whole. This helps grow and expand the jaws.
  • Continuous use and stimulation of these oral and face structures can help to growth and increase in size of the jaws.
  • Breastfeeding needs a different and quite sophisticated coordinated activity of baby’s tongue, jaws and face muscles. This is termed as suckling which differs entirely from sucking from a bottle.
  • Breastfeeding involves muscular activity as compared to passive nature of drinking from bottle. The active nature of suckling from breasts promotes growth of face and jaws.
  • Airway growth can also be improved through breastfeeding in infancy and a marked reduction in airway problems has been seen in people who underwent breastfeeding in their childhood.
  • Better hard palate and airway passage development in breastfed babies lessens the occurrence of sudden infant death disease.
  • It is strongly advised to breastfed your infants especially during the first six months to one year at lease to make them stronger and active.