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Breast feeding seen as good for teeth

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LONDON, Nov 17, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A British study says babies who are given pacifiers and bottle fed are twice as likely to have misaligned milk teeth as babies who are breastfed.

Researchers note milk teeth will be replaced by permanent teeth. But the positioning and spacing of milk teeth are increasingly seen as crucial for correct jaw alignment and positioning of permanent teeth.

The findings by researchers at the University of Milan and Salerno, Italy, are based on the detailed feeding histories and sucking patterns of 1,099 children aged between 3 and 5 years of age.

All the children's mouths were also examined by a dentist who found more than a third of the children had misalignments and poor spacing.

The front teeth of one in eight children didn't touch, a condition known as anterior open bite. And seven percent had "posterior cross bite" that occurs when the top back teeth bite inside the bottom back teeth.

Children who sucked on dummies/pacifiers or thumbs were twice as likely to have misalignment as those who did not.

The research appears in Archives of Disease in Childhood, a journal of the British Medical Association.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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