Breastfeeding is early functional jaw orthopedics (an introduction)

Funct Orthod. 2001 Fall;18(3):24-7.


Breastfeeding places beneficial orthopedic forces on the jaws, similar to the forces of Functional Jaw Orthopedics--the newest form of orthodontics. To date most breastfeeding benefits have been attributed to the content of mother's milk. The true orthopedic benefits of breastfeeding, suckling, deserve more definitive attention and research. Breastfeeding is early preventive Functional Jaw Orthopedics because breastfeeding forces impact the jaws during a very rapid period of infant jaw growth. Breast suckling aids proper development of the jaws which form the gateway to the human airway. Bottle, pacifier and digit sucking deform jaws and airways. Forward forces of suckling clearly oppose the backward forces of sucking. Dentists who understand the positive impact of forward orthopedic forces on the jaws should support and advocate exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bottle Feeding / adverse effects
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Dental Arch / growth & development
  • Fingersucking / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care
  • Malocclusion / prevention & control*
  • Mandible / growth & development
  • Maxilla / growth & development
  • Maxillofacial Development / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology
  • Sucking Behavior / physiology
  • Surface Properties