Breastfeeding and Dental Health: Does it Cause Dental Problems?

September 19th, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that infants be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months of their life in order to promote healthy growth and development. As defined, exclusive breastfeeding is no other food, drink or water except breastmilk. From a dental standpoint, breastfeeding reduces the chances of baby bottle tooth decay. Studies have also shown that exclusive breastfeeding reduced the likelihood of teeth alignment issues such as open bite, crossbite, and overbite.

An open bite is where the teeth do not align properly when the jaws are closed. Causes of open bite include thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and skeletal problems.

Open Bite:

A crossbite has two classifications: Posterior and anterior crossbite. A posterior crossbite involves the lower back teeth fitting over the teeth in the upper jaw.

Posterior Crossbite:

An anterior crossbite involves the bottom front teeth fitting over the teeth in the upper jaw.

Anterior Crossbite:

An overbite involves the teeth in the upper jaw overlapping the teeth of the lower jaw. This is commonly known as “buck teeth”.


What  does research say happens if you breastfeed past 6 months?

A study by Pediatrics showed that prolonged breastfeeding increased the risk of cavities (tooth decay) in children. The research showed that children who were breastfed 24 months or longer were 2.4 more times likely to have severe cavities. Now does this mean that you should stop breastfeeding after 6 months? No! The study did not take into account the oral health habits of the children, frequency of breastfeeding, and the additional foods added to the baby’s diet once exclusive breastfeeding is no longer done. More recently, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that there was no association between breastfeeding beyond the age of one and cavities. The factors that did lead to increased risk of cavities involved high sugar intake and socioeconomic status.

What are some causes of tooth decay?

  • Frequency of sugar

limiting the consumption of foods and drinks that have a high contact of sugar is important to reducing the risk of cavities.

  • Bacteria in the mouth

Streptococcus mutans bacteria, is the main source of cavities. This agent can be passed from caretakers to children through sharing of utensils and kissing.

  • Poor oral hygiene

Ways to protect from decay

  • Your child’s first dental visit should be around their first birthday
  • Teeth or gums should be cleaned twice a day. This can be done by wiping them with a wet washcloth
  • Once other foods have been introduced into the diet, offer water as this will wash away lingering sugar
  • Make sure that your child goes to sleep with a clean mouth- this means no juice or sugar filled foods before bedtime
  • Avoid putting your child’s toys, cups, utensils in your mouth to reduce the spread of bacteria from your mouth to theirs

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.












My Lungs, Mouth, and Inhaler: What to Know

April 17th, 2019

It's that time of the year where blooming flowers and warm breezes take over and are welcomed by many. However, for some, this time of the year triggers asthma and allergies! Unfortunately, individuals with asthma may not share the same joy in this seasonal change. Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that is characterized by airway obstruction, coughing, and wheezing caused by constriction of the lung bronchi. But, that's not all! Since the body is all interconnected, this respiratory condition also has been found to increase your risk of developing gum disease (gingivitis and periodontal disease), tooth decay, malocclusion (overbite, overate, posterior crossbite), oral candidiasis, dry mouth, and oral sores. In particular, these conditions are often more prominent and aggressive in children. A contributing factor is that children's teeth have thinner enamel than adults, and consequently are more susceptible to harm and breakdown caused by bacteria that cause cavities. Here's how you can lower these risks and keep your mouth healthy so that it can last you a lifetime:

A recent study analyzing 40 children with asthma looked at the prevalence of dental cavities, gingival bleeding, the pH of saliva, composition of bacteria within the mouth, in addition to assessing their oral hygiene habits. It was found that the children with asthma experienced dry mouth, had at least 5-8 cavities, and a rapid formation of plaque. The children also had an increased acidity of pH within the mouth, which puts them at a higher risk of cavities and the fungal infection, candidiasis. Another study reported that individuals with asthma had approximately a 19% increased risk of suffering from periodontitis.

Fortunately, avoiding gum disease can be achieved by practicing proper oral hygiene techniques, including using a fluoride toothpaste, mouth rinse, brushing and flossing regularly, and making regular visits to the dentist. If you notice red puffy gums, bleeding with brushing or flossing, or persistent bad breath, these can be early signs of gum disease.  It is also important to always bring your inhaler to dental and medical appointments to ensure your safety in the case of an acute asthma attack.

The Effect of Asthma Medications

The medications taken to combat asthma also play a role in negatively impacting the oral cavity. This is because the protective mucous membrane within the mouth is less effective/reduced in individuals with asthma, lowering the body's immune system. Dry mouth is a major consequence of many medications, which allows for plaque build-up and bacteria accumulation that contribute to dental cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.

Inhaled corticosteroids, including Advair and Azmacort, may cause oral thrush, dental cavities, oral ulcers, and hoarseness. In addition, Albuterol, a medication used to treat bronchospasm, can have side effects including oral thrush, dry mouth, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, throat irritation, and nausea.

Tips for Managing Oral Health with Asthma

  • Rinsing with water after you using your inhaler can help avoid developing an oral fungal infection.
  • Stay hydrated in order to help combat dry mouth.
  • Keep your dentist informed about your medications and medical conditions. Make sure your dentist knows if you have asthma and what medications you are taking so that your health can be managed properly.
  • Manage allergies. Both asthma and allergies typically flare-up together. Managing both properly can help prevent mouth-breathing and dry mouth.
  • Practice good dental hygiene.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. DerekDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Stephens would be more than willing to help.







What's Up With My Bite?

October 7th, 2018

Malocclusion, or the misalignment of opposing teeth in the upper and lower jaw, is very common in both children and adults. This is often due to the fact that teeth can move slowly overtime just from the normal forces of chewing. This can even occur in individuals who have had braces in the past if they are not wearing a retainer. But not to worry, occlusal/bite problems can be identified early on in children while they still have baby teeth or mixed dentition and restored with orthodontic treatment.

Sometimes malocclusion can be genetic, or due to unhealthy oral health habits during childhood such as thumb sucking  or tongue thrusting. An orthodontic consult is typically recommended for all children around the age of 7 as permanent teeth start coming in so that any potential orthodontic problems can be identified.

Adults may also begin to notice crowding developing visible when smiling. This could occur for various reasons, including teeth shifting out of place after the loss of a tooth. Despite age, orthodontics can help anyone experiencing common tooth alignment issues:

Abnormal eruption

This is caused when a tooth erupts from the gums in the wrong place. The tooth could be blocked from developing in the correct place (tooth impaction), in which a minor oral surgery treatment can be performed to uncover the tooth before beginning orthodontics to bring the tooth into the correct position.




Crossbite occurs when  one or more of the upper teeth are positioned behind the lower teeth. Orthodontic appliances including a palatal expander can solve this problem in children whose jaws are still developing.





This occurs due to a lack of space in the jaw either because the teeth are too big or the jaws are too small. Crowding can be corrected by removing some teeth and/or creating more space within the jaws through orthodontic appliances.





Excessive spacing

Spaces may develop when teeth are lost or there is a difference between jaw size and tooth size. These spaces can be closed with braces to ensure teeth don't shift out of place.




Open bite

An open bite can be hereditary, or be the result of prolonged thumb sucking r tongue thrusting. This results in a space between the upper and lower front teeth when biting down.





Also known as a deep bite, occurs when the upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth.






This occurs when the upper front teeth protrude outwards or the lower teeth are inclined toward the tongue. This can be hereditary, or from improper jaw development, missing lower teeth and/or improper positioning of molars. Poor oral habits including thumb sucking or tongue thrusting can contribute to overjet.





This is characterized by the lower front teeth covering the upper front teeth. This may be due to overgrowth of the lower jaw and/or less development of the upper jaw.



Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Van. Dr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.













Request an


our blog