July 20, 2010

Craniofacial differences between bottle-fed and breastfed people

Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2010 Jun;11(2):87-92.

Comparative study of the craniofacial growth depending on the type of lactation received

Sánchez-Molins M, Grau Carbó J, Ustrell Torrent JM.


AIM: Several organizations consider mother's milk the optimal nutrition source for newborns [AAP, 1998; Gartner et al., 1997; Mohrbacher and Stock, 2002; WHO, 1989]. However, there is little scientific evidence supporting the idea that breastfeeding has a positive influence on the development of the orofacial structures. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study of cases and controls (observational, analytical and retrospective) and lateral teleradiographs of the cranium of 197 patients (106 breast-fed and 91 bottle-fed) were compared. Ricketts, Steiner and McNamara values were used for the cephalometric analysis. Differences between the two groups were analysed by applying the T-test and ANOVA. Statistical significance levels were set at p less than 0.05. Non-nutritive infantile sucking habits have been compared; differences between the two groups were analysed by applying the Chi-square test. RESULTS: First, the upper incisors were found to be protruded in the bottle-fed group. Second, subjects belonging to the breast-fed group displayed a brachycephalic mandible arch, while those fed with bottle had a dolichocephalic Steiner mandibular plane. Third, both facial depth and distance of the pogonion to the perpendicular nasion presented a certain tendency to a retruded mandibular bone in the bottle-fed group. And fourth, the frequency of use of dummy and thumb suction were greater in the bottle feed group, without statistical significance. CONCLUSION: In addition to the multiple advantages that mother's milk offers to newborns, breastfeeding also helps correct orofacial development (not only for the incisors position, but also for the vertical and sagittal relations of the mandible with upper maxillary and cranial basis).


1 comment:

Marnie said...

Nice to see these papers on breast feeding.

There's been quite a lot of research recently about the immunological benefits of breast feeding, with the result that breast feeding is better promoted in the developing world.

However, it's been assumed that in the developed world, we didn't need the immunological benefits of breast feeding.

As these papers point out, there are other benefits.

With a number of recent papers, it seems that the data is in that breast feeding at least to six months of age has significant benefit, including lower diabetes and breast cancer risk for the mother.

Breast feeding is a demanding and time consuming proposition. Most western societies are not accepting of the natural age of weaning, which can extend well past the first year. It is also not well understood that the sucking action of a breast pump is not the same as the sucking action of a baby in terms of maintaining milk production. Because of limited maternal leave and inflexible work policies, it is difficult for women to sustain breast feeding for the optimal period.

These studies are needed. What is also needed is a presentation of when the various benefits of breast feeding taper off. Studies don't seem to examin this. With such information, families, physicians (and hopefully governments) could then better decide how to apportion resources to support breast feeding.