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Warning: Nursing all night long can lead to cavities - Page 2

post #21 of 31

there is a yahoo group called 'very young kids teeth', i think i got the link from here on mdc actually. there is a dentist that is very active on there, and as a group, it is very child-friendly, and pro-bfing. i *highly* recommend you check it out.



post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 

Hi!  Just wanted to post this article that I got through the yahoo groups site.  http://www.analyticalarmadillo.co.uk/2010/12/ask-armadillo-does-breastfeeding-cause.html  very informational.  So, my initial hypothesis is not right.  It does not cause it, but rather the sugar mixed with breastmilk.   


I have weaned at night because I think that is best in that I think it's impossible to get ALL sugar off my daughter's teeth.  I have been brushing twice daily now and nurse her when she wants milk arounf 5:30 or so.  


Does anyone have experience with electric toothbrushes with 2 year olds?

post #23 of 31

I have used an electric toothbrush occasionally with my youngest.  It's fine.  It's also important to floss little teeth.  I think that's made the biggest difference for the two of mine who are cavity prone.  

post #24 of 31

Because of the placement of the breast deep in the back of the mouth and also because the breast doesn't drip and milk doesn't pool in the mouth night nursing does not cause dental caries.    Typically the cause of "bottle rot" in breastfed babies is an bad Streptococcus mutans infection.  Yes this can happen, but it's not from the night nursing (this also explains why only one of your children has it).  What CAN lead to s. mutans infection is feeding your child food from your fork and thus transmitting the bacteria from your mouth or from the mouth of anyone else that might be infected.  Dentists tend to lump all night feeding methods together and thus all babies who nurse or bottle feed at night past 1 year must be at risk for bottle rot and tooth misalignment (even though breastfeeding is fundamentally different both in composition and mechanism).  Don't beat yourself up over this, it's not your fault and it's not from the night nursing.  It's an unfortunate thing that happened to your child, but it's not your doing.


I can look for studies if you like but the rate of "bottle rot" in bf babies who extended night nurse is very very very low. 

post #25 of 31
Because this is more of a dental health issue than one concerned with parenting multiples, I am going to move it to the dental health forum.
post #26 of 31

I'm dealing with this now, too, and for the SECOND time.  :(  My older son had to have five caps across the upper front teeth and two crowns on molars when he was 3 1/2.  Now my little guy, at 23 months, has a ton of decay.  I took him in just before he turned one for a broken tooth and he had no decay at that point.  For the past few weeks I've been trying to get a good look at his teeth and between bad lighting and him being squirmy and not wanting to show me, I just couldn't get a decent look...  until I thought of looking while he was strapped into his car seat on a bright sunny day.  And, omg!  :(  I knew for sure there was an issue on one of the upper fronts and suspected more, but when the dentist had him under the light and looking through his mouth with that little mirror, it was nearly every tooth except for his front bottom.  


In Augie's case (and probably Milo too, I'm guessing) there is way more than night nursing in play.  The dentist said they were totally malformed, and some of them looked very oddly shaped to me.  And that's probably why he broke the one he did.  But both of my kids are very busy during the day and hardly eat food.  As toddler's, though, they were (are) both latched on practically all night.  I really do think nursing contributed -- though I doubt it's any worse than allowing a baby to be half sucking on a bottle all night long.  My kids are at risk for tooth decay bc of the quality of their teeth and then letting them nurse all night is a risky behavior.  Part of the reason I feel so strongly that it contributed is that we had Milo's teeth fixed about two weeks after he stopped nursing and he's never had another cavity.


Otoh, I do not regret extended nursing, or even nursing all night long.  I feel that all of us, and especially my boys, have gotten so much out of that and it is so good for them and completely worth the devastation of their poor little baby teeth.  In Milo's case, fixing his teeth was expensive, but no skin off his back.  He thinks of it as the day that he was allowed to watch dvd's all day long and doesn't understand why we make such a big deal of taking care of his teeth since fix them was so easy.  General anesthesia is a little scary, but doable, imo. For Augie, we are going to bring him in to the dentist every three months until we get them fixed.  If the dentist sees signs of possible infection or if there's any pain, we'll get them fixed right away.  I'm hoping, of course, that the teeth will hold out until we are ready to wean. If we're close to weaning anyway, I'll probably just go ahead and wean and not nurse at all after the surgery, since it worked out so well with Milo.  If it's anytime soon, ugh, I guess we'll have to cross that bridge when we get there.  Right now nursing is super important to him and I just can't imagine stopping.  :(


As for the theory about mama sharing bacteria...  I was really worried about that bc my teeth are horrible (they weren't when I was their age, though).  But if that were what was going on with us, I feel pretty sure that Milo would still be having problems.  I'm sure I was sharing a significant amount of bacteria with him when he was 3 and 4 and probably still am and he's fine.  


I'm happy you decided to put your LO one out for her work, OP.  I have had so much dental work done myself that the idea of doing that to a child, ugh.  I'm so happy Milo was out and it was really easy for us.  Well, my husband was actually really freaked out and upset by it, but it was very easy for Milo and mostly easy for me.  I hope it all goes well for you guys!

post #27 of 31

You are not a bad mom and it isn't your fault your child has cavities.  But it is your responsibility to help her body stop and even reverse the decay.  You can do it!  Read Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel.  And visit the Weston a Price foundation website to find the best source of fermented cod liver oil you can.  Bacteria doesn't cause tooth decay.  Tooth decay isn't an infectious disease. 

post #28 of 31
Thread Starter 

Tried to find this in it's orginal spot in Multiples, but it was moved.  Just wanted to give an update.  My daughter had her dental surgery for 6 caps on Friday.  She did REALLY well.  Now she is just a little sore and back to normal.  I'm so glad we went this route. 


I am still a little worried it could happen again though, as I haven't completely nightweaned yet.  Though I'm PLANNING on doing that over these next weeks/months.  I don't nurse to sleep anymore, am brushing twice a day and don't nurse all night, though I have been nursing once about 4:30am or so.  I will completely wean these next few months, as the twins are 2 1/2 and I think I'm done with the nursing thing.  I don't want to shock them though, so I'm slowly cutting down. 


What else can be done for prevention?  Any suggestions?  I need to get that xylitol, but haven't had time to get to the store!


Anyway, just wanted to give an update.


Sarah Joy

post #29 of 31

Fermented Cod Liver Oil. And Butter Oil. The poster above has a good link on how to cure/prevent tooth decay.


My two little ones both nursed all night for over two years each (not twins). I always brushed  their teeth before we went to bed,  then they nursed at night, and my oldest has had only one cavity, he is 8 now. We also use xylitol, I buy it in bulk and use it as a mouth rinse and also in simple foods like mixing it with cinnamon to sprinkle on oatmeal.


But I do think nutrition is the key, rather than nursing, and the links given by tuansprincess above are your best resource on that.

post #30 of 31

Please see my post on bacteria causing tooth decay here. http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1240524/success-stories-from-moms-who-chose-not-to-fix-cavities-in-baby-teeth#post_16285698 As in the case of cholesterol not being the cause of but rather the body's response to heart disease, it may seem that the bacteria are there as a RESULT of the infection, not as the cause. Sugar and bm are ATNIbacterial.

post #31 of 31


I think that this post is really important and I am really happy to see that someone put it up!  I am an avid supporter of breastfeeding and both of my children are EBF, but my son had MAJOR dental issues and I really wonder what differences could have been made for his teeth had I been willing to consider that maybe breastfeeding all night long-basically sleeping attached to the breast for most of the night-is not the best idea.  


I think that as breastfeeding mothers we deal can feel so defensive about our choice to nurse that maybe we exaggerate the perfect, super powers that are standard with breastfeeding.  There is no question that Breast is Best, obviously, but I think that sometimes the passionate support of breastfeeding that shouts the benefits of nursing gives the impression that mother's can expect that feeding their child the perfect food will yield perfect health, when really breastfeeding is only one of the deciding factors in a child's overall health and development, you still have family history, enviornment, diet, etc.  In many cases that I have read as I researched dental issues, it seems like a child with a predisposition toward tooth decay suffers dental troubles resulting from the night time boobie fests.  Many children don't, but you don't really know how your own situation will turn out until it is kind of too late so I think it is good that we are open about what "can" happen so that people can make informed decisions.  

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