Longer Breastfeeding Tied to Better Development

January 2, 2014

There’s no doubt about the benefits of breastfeeding, but most of the benefits that are written about in medical journals is related to the nutritional and immunologic benefits of human breast milk. Here’s one more of many articles touting the developmental benefits of breastfeeding over bottle-feeding. Most of the studies compare breast milk (including pumped milk) to formula, but this study specifically states that children who where specifically breast-fed had significantly higher scores in cognitive development, receptive communication, expressive communication, and fine motor development. Children who were breastfed for more than 6 months had the highest scores compared with children that were never breastfed.

There’s a general consensus within the dental community that bottle-feeding can potentially promote dental crowding. The physical act of swallowing is very different when sucking from an artificial nipple vs. suckling from a mother’s breast. Dr. Brian Palmer has an excellent explanation on his website. 

In the original study, nowhere is where any mention of the biomechanics differences with breast-feeding versus sucking from an artificial nipple from a bottle. Poor swallowing mechanics leads to improper tongue motion, which can cause malocclusion (dental crowding), which in turn can increase your chance of narrowed airways and sleep-related breathing disorders (such as obstructive sleep apnea). This is also why using a pacifier or even thumb sucking has similar, detrimental effects. 

What are your experiences with breast or bottle feeding and dental crowding issues in your children?

Breast-feeding Linked to Social Status

June 26, 2013

Here’s an interesting study showing that being breast-fed as an infant was associated with a higher social status later in life. While the article gives some very good plausible reasons for this finding, nowhere does it mention the well-known finding by dentists that bottle-feeding can aggravate dental crowding, which can potentially lead to problems breathing at night due to crowded soft tissues within smaller-than-normal jaws. We know that babies that snore have much higher rates of developmental and behavioral problems later as school-aged children. Poor sleep quality can also predispose to weight gain. 

I’m not saying that all bottle-fed babies will develop sleep apnea. However, along with a number of other genetic, environmental and dietary, and behavioral factors, bottle-feeding can significantly increase your risk of developing sleep apnea. Based on what we know about narrowed jaw structures and obstructive sleep apnea, this finding is not surprising. 

The Benefits of Breastfeeding on Breathing

March 7, 2012

The American Academy of Pediatrics just published a policy statement reiterating their recommendation that infants should be breastfed exclusively for 6 months. They also made this recommendation in their 2005 paper, but this time they actually quantify the health benefits. 

The authors wrote that others have suggested that more than 900 infant deaths per year in the United States could be prevented if 90% of mothers breastfeed exclusively for six months. They also cited evidence that breastfeeding improves neurodevelopmental outcomes and enhances development of host defenses in infants born preterm. Other benefits include the following:

  • 72% reduction in hospitalization for respiratory infections
  • 64% reduction in the incidence of gastrointestinal infections
  • 58% to 77% reduction in the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis
  • 36% to 45% reduction in the risk of sudden infant death syndrome
  • 27% to 42% reduction in the incidence of asthma, atopic dermatitis, and eczema
  • 52% reduction in the risk of celiac disease
  • 31% reduction in the risk of inflammatory bowel disease
  • 15% to 30% reduction in the incidence of obesity in adolescences and adulthood
  • 15% to 20% reduction in the risk of childhood leukemia and lymphoma.

I’ve also proposed arguments made by dentists that bottle-feeding increases your risk of dental crowding and malocclusion. The smaller your jaws, the less airway you’ll have to breathe through properly during the day and especially at night. Notice that sleep-related breathing problems can directly or indirectly influence most, if not all the bullets listed above. 

It’s also important to note that the physical act of breastfeeding itself is what protects against dental crowding and an increased risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea later in life. Obviously, exclusive breastfeeding without pumping is not practical or realistic in our society. However, you have to think about these implications.

Do you think Pediatricians are going a good job promoting breastfeeding?


How Finger Foods for Babies Can Prevent Obesity

February 10, 2012

Modern life leads to a number of unexpected consequences. Here’s an interesting study showing that infants that are weaned from liquid diets to finger foods rather than being spoon-fed pureé diets are much less likely to be obese later in life. In spite of the fact that infants in the spoon-fed group were offered more fruits, carbohydrates, vegetables and proteins, they wound up preferring  sweets more than the self-fed children. 

The most likely explanation is that early mechanical stimulation of the gums and teeth leads to more optimal dental and jaw development. This goes along with Dr. Corrucinni’s work showing that eating softer foods is associated with a higher risk of malocclusion and dental crowding. Dental crowding, by definition, increases your risk of obstructive sleep apnea by crowding your breathing passageways. Bottle-feeding can also aggravate dental crowding as well. 

Expert Interview: Dr. Brian Palmer on “The Evolution of Malocclusion & Sleep Apnea”

December 10, 2011

Dr. Brian Palmer is an internationally recognized expert on dental malocclusion, infant feeding habits, and its’ relation to obstructive sleep apnea.

Topic: The Evolution of Malocclusion & Sleep Apnea

Guest: Dr. Brian Palmer

Length: 2  hours

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ADHD & Autism Rates Spike—Is Sleep Apnea Responsible?

May 25, 2011

Researchers were surprised that that rate of ADHD and autism have spiked over the last 10 years. ADHD increased 33%, whereas autism increased from 0.19% to 0.74% over the same time period. Honestly, I’m not surprised by these results. Here’s my explanation for the continued rise in these two common developmental disorders:

  1. There’s definitely more awareness of these two conditions (ADHD and autism), as well as more inclusive criteria for diagnosis
  2. Implementation of the back to sleep campaign about 20 years ago
  3. Worsened diet
  4. Bottle-feeding
  5. Environmental endocrine disruptors
  6. Less total sleep time
  7. increased incidence of allergies and food sensitivities.

There’s even evidence showing that common motor-skill milestones are often coming in delayed, since infants are not spending as much time on their tummies, even during the day. As expected, skull deformities (flat head) are much more common since the back to sleep campaign.

What does this have to do with obstructive sleep apnea? Here are 3 important reasons:

  1. Factors 2 to 6 all significantly increase your risk for obstructive sleep apnea, through either poor jaw development or inflammation of the upper airway.
  2. Obstructive sleep apnea can predispose to obesity, which narrows your airway even further
  3. Sleep-breathing problems begin during infancy, and the lack of deep, efficient sleep, not to mention frank hypoxia from apneas, can be detrimental to the infant’s brain development and biochemical pathways.

I realize that there are a number of other possible reasons for ADHD or autism (probably a combination of many factors), but not getting deep sleep can be a major barrier to proper brain development. Studies are definitely needed in this matter. Unfortunately, the medical/pharmaceutical industry is unlikely to change the status quo.

What do you think about this study? It is from over-reporting or more awareness, or is it for real?




How Breast Feeding Improves Children’s Behavior

May 10, 2011

There are numerous studies on the health benefits of breast feeding, and here’s another one that supports my sleep-breathing paradigm, that your overall state of health is directly proportional to how well formed your jaws are as you age (and subsequently your breathing passageways).

Researchers from Oxford University in the UK found that infants who were breast-fed for at least 4 months had a 33% less chance of having behavioral problems by age 5. They speculate that breast milk has higher amounts of healthy fatty acids, growth factors and hormones that contribute to healthier brain development.

The one thing that all these studies fail to address is that bottle-feeding can cause malocclusion and jaw narrowing. The smaller your jaws, the less room there is for your tongue, which can cause breathing problems when the infant is placed on his back. Add muscle relaxation from deep sleep, and you’re going to deprive infants of quality deep sleep which is vital for proper brain development. With the addition of back sleeping in infants to bottle-feeding, it’s likely that this combination is a major reason for the significant rise in pediatric developmental problems that are so rampant these days.

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, were you breast or bottle-fed as an infant?

Breast-Fed Boys Grow Up To Be Smarter

December 23, 2010

Here’s a study that showed that boys that were breast-fed as infants for at least 6 months do better in school compared with boys that were bottle-fed. Enhanced nutrients in breast mild and mother-infant bonding were thought to be reasons for this finding. Breast-fed girls also has mild increases in test scores, but the results were not statistically significant.

One major omission from the conclusion of this study is the fact that breast-feeding protects against developing obstructive sleep apnea. Dentists have long said that bottle-feeding promotes malocclusion and dental crowding. The smaller the jaws, the less room there is for the tongue, and the more often you’ll stop breathing at night.

Another important point is that pumped breast milk is not the same as breast-feeding. Unfortunately, our society and modern time don’t make it easy to exclusively breastfeed.

What are your thoughts on this? If you have sleep apnea, do you remember if you were breast or bottle-fed?

Good News For Breast-Feeding Moms

November 10, 2010

Here’s some good news for new moms: That women who breast-feed sleep the same amount as those who bottle-feed. This is an important issue since bottle-feeding has been shown to cause or aggravate dental crowding and malocclusions. Having smaller jaws (think smaller mouth) crowds the tongue and other soft tissues of the mouth and throat, aggravating or promoting obstructive sleep apnea.

This brings up a very sensitive issue, which implies that infants should be breast fed by using the natural breast, rather than pumping and using a bottle. Most modern women don’t have the luxury, time, or the resources to breast feed exclusively for 6 months or longer. Work schedules, caring for other children, and other demands of modern society makes breast-feeding difficult.

My feeling is that women (with spousal support) should do everything possible to breast feed, but shouldn’t feel guilty for not being able to do so. Everyone has unique circumstances, and ultimately, not everything we want to do is under our control.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Can Bottle Feeding Increase the Risk of Sleep Apnea?

November 12, 2009

Startling News For Parents of Bottle Fed Children…

 In this hour long interview, Dr. Park talks to Dr. Brian Palmer, a former dentist who has done extensive research in the field of infant oral cavity and airway development.  In this discussion, Dr. Palmer shares shocking information as to why parents who bottle feed their children are putting them at higher risk for ADHD, obesity, not to mention sleep breathing disorders and what parents can do NOW to prevent these problems from developing later on.


  • Why bottle feeding can make your child more prone to sleep problems as adults
  • How bottle fed children are more likely to perform poorly in school
  • Why bottle fed children are more at risk for sleep apnea,obesity, ADHD, bed wetting and more
  • What you can do NOW to prevent health problems for your bottle fed child

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