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Dirty teeth and BFing in 15 month old?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi mamas,

I have had several people tell me that actively brushing a 15 month old's teeth isn't necessary, but my DS nurses quite often, and a lot throughout the night. I have noticed that his teeth (he only has 4 top and 2 bottom -BIG ONES!) are building up some yellowish residue. Should I be wiping it off? With a Qtip? I bought him a little soft toothbrush, and he likes chewing on it, but won't really let me properly brush with it.

I know tooth decay with a bottle is common, but what about frequent breast feeding? Should I be more proactive?
post #2 of 20
At 20 months I saw cavities in my son's mouth. He had to have general anesthesia for filling and/or capping 6 teeth. Cost: $2,000.

La Leche League said breastmilk cannot cause cavities. However, breastmilk combined with carbohydrates (such as crackers) can lead to tooth decay.

Try xylitol wipes. http://www.amazon.com/Spiffies-Tooth...2&sr=8-2-spell or perhaps a xylitol toothpaste with these http://www.amazon.com/Babys-1st-Toot...9693844&sr=1-4

The only problem with xylitol toothpaste is it kills off the bacteria on the teeth. Actually, that's not the problem, that's what you want. What the problem is that if you swallow the toothpaste it can kill the bacteria in the gut and you can end up with diarrhea. That happened to our daughter so we had to switch to Tom's fluoride-free toothpaste.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post
At 20 months I saw cavities in my son's mouth. He had to have general anesthesia for filling and/or capping 6 teeth. Cost: $2,000.
Oh my. That sounds like a nightmare. I had a couple people tell me that it's the night nursing that is the culprit, but I have no interest in night weaning. Carbs, huh? That's something to consider.

Does your son spit or swallow the toothpaste when you brush? I am less interested in the xylitol for the reasons you mentioned (I make sure my DS has probiotics and that his gut is healthy), but I wonder if the flouride-free Toms could do any harm if swallowed in tiny amounts?
post #4 of 20
Well, my son is now 4.5, but my daughter will be 2 in 3 weeks. She swallows. That's why I get the fluoride free. I haven't checked all the ingredients so am just trusting in the Tom's name. I certainly wouldn't buy any of the mainstream learner toothpastes.
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toposlonoshlep View Post
I have had several people tell me that actively brushing a 15 month old's teeth isn't necessary
This surprises me. Public Heath here in Ontario encourages 'washing' gums and teeth twice a day to break down the biofilm that can lead to cavities. The recommend a gauze and finger (or equivalent) first, and then a soft tooth brush. They don't recommend any toothpaste at all until age 3. If your baby is eating solids, then I would suggest brushing teeth is a good idea.
post #6 of 20
I think the recommendation is that once they have teeth they should be brushed, so I would start doing that.

From what I have read, breastmilk plus any food remnants can cause decay. I think there was a study that found breastmilk on its own won't decay teeth (I think the beneficial organisms in the breastmilk have a protective effect, maybe), but that isn't true once cavity-causing bacteria colonizes the baby's mouth. That can be transferred from adult mouths by sharing utensils, bottles, etc. That is my understanding anyway. Either way, teeth should be brushed, or at least wiped with a washcloth.
post #7 of 20
There is actually a really interesting study on the MOM chewing xylitol gum 2 or 3 times a day from birth to age 2. There's a 60 to 70% reduction of cavities because mom is not transferring so many bacteria to baby. Alas I didn't read about this until my son had cavities.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post
There is actually a really interesting study on the MOM chewing xylitol gum 2 or 3 times a day from birth to age 2. There's a 60 to 70% reduction of cavities because mom is not transferring so many bacteria to baby. Alas I didn't read about this until my son had cavities.
Wait, wait, wait....How can that be? Mom chewing xylitol prevents bacteria transfer to the baby through the milk??? I am so confused. I wouldn't think it would make a difference unless we were french-kissing our LOs. I DO get licked a lot, but I never lick back.

I am so glad I asked. I wonder why no mamas I have talked to let me know about that...I will start! I think the best I can do is a q-tip wipe. For some reason he lets me wipe with a q-tip, but not brush with a brush. Go figure.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Also, my son has quite a bit of milk that stays on his tongue. It has always been like that. A white film. I wonder if that can contribute to tooth decay. I cannot wrap my mind around how I would wipe off his tongue though....
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toposlonoshlep View Post
Wait, wait, wait....How can that be? Mom chewing xylitol prevents bacteria transfer to the baby through the milk??? I am so confused. I wouldn't think it would make a difference unless we were french-kissing our LOs. I DO get licked a lot, but I never lick back.
LOL.

No, the gum kills the bacteria in the mom's mouth. Then, when she shares food or licks her fingers (absent-mindedly) and without thinking touches the baby's lips, or whatever, she is not transferring as many cavity causing bacteria from her mouth to the baby's mouth.
post #11 of 20
My dentist said to try and wipe them down with a wash cloth, or other soft cloth. I do that at night, then give him his toothbrush to practice with while I brush mine. He does a pretty good job, for a toddler.

I'm not overly concerned about baby teeth, I would be more concerned about learning good habits.
post #12 of 20
Where did you hear that you didn't need to brush? I brush my kids teeth twice a day as soon as they get teeth.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by kriket View Post
I'm not overly concerned about baby teeth, I would be more concerned about learning good habits.
My toddler had to have general anesthesia to fill or cap cavities in 6 teeth. It was not nice. This in a kid with my genes (no cavities,) no sugar, no bottle.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post
There is actually a really interesting study on the MOM chewing xylitol gum 2 or 3 times a day from birth to age 2. There's a 60 to 70% reduction of cavities because mom is not transferring so many bacteria to baby. Alas I didn't read about this until my son had cavities.
I use xylitol (and occasionally xylitol gum), but am not thrilled with the methodology of the above study. Gum chewing in general is thought to decrease mouth bacteria by stimulating saliva and helping the mouth return to a normal pH after eating. I would have liked to see a control group, a non-xylitol group and a xylitol gum group in the study. As it is we don't know if it's the gum or the xylitol making the difference. Probably can't hurt, though. I keep gum in the car and my 4 year old and I both chew it if we're out for lunch, etc. and can't brush.

As for brushing, I start with my kids as soon as the teeth erupt.
post #15 of 20
At age 2 our DS1 needed three fillings and a crown

With our 2nd I started brushing with non-fluoride (and non-minty) toothpaste from the emergence of the first tooth, as recommended by our pediatric dentist. He still needed several fillings by age 4...but it would have been even worse had I not been brushing.

I would recommend brushing from the emergence of the first tooth. Our ped dentist also recommends that especially at night, after nursing they (toddlers not infants) should have a little water to rinse off their teeth.

I use Nature's Gate Creme de Anise toothpaste until they can rinse and spit.

http://www.natures-gate.com/shop/sho...152&menuId=152
post #16 of 20
Absolutely you should be brushing his teeth. My daughter developed cavities at around 14 or so months. I thought that her teeth were just dirty. It eventually led to GA and filling six cavities in her four front teeth. It was a very stressful thing to have to do. I think that night nursing shouldn't be a problem as long as your son's teeth are clean.
post #17 of 20
yeah like others have stated its not the breastmilk that is the problem its all the other food that is and im assuming (by age) that they are eating more than breastmilk at this point.

We have always been told to clean our kids gums down after food (even if they dont have visible teeth yet) We usually wet a washcloth and let our babies kinda suck on it a bit and then we give a good swipe on bottom and top gums. Once they do get a tooth in we start *brushing* with one of those little brushes that you slip onto the tip of your fingertip. I just discovered xylitol wipes which im totally using for this upcoming baby.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thank you!!

Wow, thanks everyone. I have learned a lot and am being really proactive about this tooth thing. Several of my friends with children of similar age have taken on a carefree attitude about the baby teeth, but perhaps they haven't heard of anyone having to put their kid under GA. I would hate to have to do that, so if I can prevent it I will. Maybe they told me not to be concerned because he only has 6 front teeth so far and no molars? I don't know why I got such bum advice. I will use Tom's flouride free anise toothpaste with a soft little natural brush I have and since he is not too much into brushing with a brush (unless he does it himself, of course, which just isn't effective), I have also ordered some xylitol wipes.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post
My toddler had to have general anesthesia to fill or cap cavities in 6 teeth. It was not nice. This in a kid ...with no sugar, no bottle.
we had the exact same experience. DS didn't even start eating solids until 14/15 months old, and we brushed his teeth every single night starting at age 1. By 17 months he had to have 6 cavities filled under GA, as well as a cap put on one of his front teeth (it was chipped and very badly decayed).

but, he did have 16 teeth by that time
post #20 of 20
I was not vigilant enough about brushing dd's teeth at night.... too casual. I'd do it, but not daily b/c it was a struggle and didn't seem to do much good b/c I could get in there and really brush well.

She's a big night nurser, too. Anyway, I can see several cavities now and she just turned 2 last month. I never thought it could happen that fast. She's not a big sugar eater - just a nurser. So now I am worried about what it is going to take to fix this.

Keep up the proactive brushing. It is worth it to stat young and to be consistent.
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