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March 27, 1978

Breast-feeding in Baby With Loose Teeth

Author Affiliations

Montreal Children's Hospital McGill University Montreal

JAMA. 1978;239(13):1282-1283. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280400022010

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To the Editor.—  We wish to comment on the response to the question "Should Breast-feeding Be Continued in Teething Baby With Loose Teeth?" (238:2200, 1977).The reply by Norman Olsen, DDS, suggests no alternative to breast feeding, and it risks being taken at face value by the uncritical reader who may assume that bottle-feeding would be an appropriate substitute in the suckling infant. Because of the relative stiffness and elastic qualities of most artificial nipples, as well as the absence of direct sensory feedback, bottle-feeding may be more likely to contribute to complete avulsion of an infant's loose tooth than the mother's own nipple during breast feeding. Similarly, a glass or plastic cup may endanger a struggling or active weanling's loosened tooth.The mechanics and physiology of breast-feeding should have been reviewed in preparing the reply to remind the reader that sucking is performed primarily with the tongue and lips