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15 Month old with Cavities.. Told not to night nurse Anyone similar situation??

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hello Mothering Community! I am new to this, I have some questions about my sons teeth and continuing to breastfeed, and I knew joining Mothering and asking other natural mommy`s I would get some great answers.

 

I`ll start off with a little history. At about 15 months old, we noticed that there was some enamel chipping on my son`s top 4 teeth. He wasn`t in any pain at all, but I was quite worried about it. We saw a dentist and he told us it was baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood caries. My son has never had a bottle, and I was told night nursing does the same thing. He then told us there was nothing he could do until he was a little bit older and could sit in the chair without fussing to get them fixed. I wanted a second opinion so we looked for a pediatric dentist. He was even pushier about breastfeeding being the cause. He gave us an option to put our son under general anesthetic and get them fixed. We decided that we didn`t want to do that so we`ve been brushing regularly and putting a flouride rinse on his teeth twice a day. (we dip a q-tip in it and run it along his teeth, so there isn`t any swallowing) I tried for about a week to night wean him. As he nurses in the night 4-5 times usually. But he did not respond well to it. And I didn`t either :( He is back to nursing in the night, and I feel good about my decision to continue nursing in the night. However, I`m wondering if there is anyone out there that also continued nursing through the night when they`ve been told not to?? How did it turn out?? I`ve done so much research and I`m convinced that the good far outweighs the bad when it comes to nursing a child with cavities. Also I have ordered the "dental essentials" (www.thedentalessentials.com) hoping that will help. Anyone used it before?

 

If you have any tips or suggestions or just want to share your story, please do!!

post #2 of 15

Hi! I am new here, too. I was actually searching the web for something and your post came up and I created an account just so I could reply! I have three boys (Almost 5, 2, and 2 months). I didn't night-wean either of the older ones, and won't with this baby either. I also nursed my oldest son until he was 3.5. (My middle son weaned himself around 23 months.) My husband is actually a pediatric dentist- and he feels strongly that you can continue to nurse at night and protect your teeth. For our kids, we felt the benefits of continuing to nurse at night outweighed the risks. We also take some extra steps to lessen the risks to their teeth. I actually asked my husband if he wouldn't mind giving you some advice, and this is what he said:

 

 

"I'm sorry your little guy is getting cavities. I know it can be stressful, especially when the hospital is mentioned in the same sentence as teeth! Depending on how bad the cavities are, you do have options other than the hospital. There is a floride releasing temporary crown that can be done while your son is in your lap that will get him through until he old enough for more definitive treatment. There are fluoride releasing temporary fillings that would accomplish the same thing, it all depends on the size and depth of the cavity.

 

As far as nursing goes, you need to remember that nursing alone does not cause cavities. Not all dentists are trained this way, and many group cow's milk in with human milk, but there is a difference. If you think about it, cavemen would have had a ton of cavities if breastmilk caused cavities, but cavities didn't exist until humans started eating sugar!

 

That being said, if your child is getting any modern foods ( baby food, crackers, cereal, milk, juice, etc) that is an extrinsic sugar source that our teeth/mouth were not made to handle. Additionally, your child (or anyone for that matter) doesn't make saliva at night. Saliva is what naturally protects your teeth from decay. So, if your child has any food particles left on their teeth when they go to bed, that residual food/sugar combines with the breastmilk to make a liquid that does cause a lot of decay. It is similar to the difference between regular milk and a sugar-added flavored milk (such as chocolate or strawberry, etc).

 

Bottom line if you are going to nurse at night, you must be religious about oral hygiene. I tell my patients that night nursing does not cause decay by itself, but in our modern age, it is definitely a risk factor for developing decay because of the other foods/drinks we eat. Knowing this is a risk factor means that you maybe need to brush 3x/day instead of the usual 2.

 

Your sun is slightly younger than I usually recommend beginning fluoride toothpaste, but if he is beginning to get cavities, it is probably a good idea. You mentioned that you are worried about swallowing. To address this, I would use only a smear of toothpaste on the brush (imagine a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, then divide by 4!) It will still foam up a little, if this concerns you, you can wipe his mouth out with a washcloth after brushing. It is also best not to rinse with water afterwords, because the fluoride is most effective at preventing decay if it has some extended contact time with the teeth."

 

I hope this helps! Enjoy your time nursing. I am glad I still have a baby to nurse- I can't believe my first is almost 5! The time flies for sure.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thank you, thank you, thank you soo much!! From the bottom of my heart. This is exactly what I needed to hear to reassure me that I was doing the right thing.. It is so great to hear from a pediatric dentist that knows what he is talking about. I have been so stressed out with what I should do to prevent his teeth from getting worse, and this just makes me feel like a burden has been lifted..

 

I did read somewhere that if you don't brush before you nurse, the breastmilk can cause decay. This is why I think it may have started, as I wasn't very strict on brushing his teeth when they first erupted.. Of course I was thinking this could never happen to me! But now I know, after you've confirmed for me, that as long as I brush after he eats or drinks he can continue to breastfeed.

 

Bless you and your husband for taking the time to write me that advice. I really appreciate it. Now I know exactly which way I need to proceed with treatment.

 

PS: We have started using "the dental essentials" hoping that it would cure the decay that has started, and remineralize his teeth. Is using the right nutrition a good natural treatment plan?? You can read more about it here www.thedentalessentials.com If you want to. If you cannot, no worries. You have already helped immensely!!

post #4 of 15

I'm curious how the Dental Essentials is working for you.  Any progress?

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

We only started using it about 2 weeks ago, but so far we see no further decay then what was there when we started it. I'm hoping that's as far as it will get. We really are doing everything in our power to stop the decay. I feel like I finally have enough knowledge about tooth decay and nutrition, along with breastfeeding and proper brushing (although I'm sure I don't know everything, there is lots to know!). I've been reading about these things non-stop since we found out! So I'm pretty sure his teeth will be okay in the end.

post #6 of 15

I hope that your baby's teeth turn out okay. I had to night wean my son because he does eat modern foods and because I work, I am not home in the middle of the day to brush his teeth so he gets the 3x/day brushing. My older son, now 7 y/o night nursed until he weaned at 2.5 years and to this day has not had a single cavity. So I thought we could practice the same dental regimen with my younger son, but we were wrong.

 

My son will be 3 in July, and we have already spent thousands of dollars on his teeth. I think we are close to $4k now. But I am really starting to think that my son's pediatric dentist is incompetent. When I would send my son with my DH for the checkups, I would have him ask specifically about spots of concern on his teeth and he would come back just with a reminder to follow-up in 6 months. And I would have sworn that he was developing cavities, but I am not a dentist. So one day there was a health fair with a dentist checking teeth so I asked him to look at my son's teeth and he said they were decaying. So I had to go to back to the pediatric dentist and tell him that I was certain the teeth were decayed, so he did an x-ray and yes, all 4 front teeth were decaying, I looked at the films myself.

 

So we got a pulpotomy and packing with antibiotics for the 4 front upper teeth and then he had to have the teeth repaired, basically they are like veneers for the baby teeth or he would have snaggle teeth with holes in them if we didn't do it. This was done in the office with gas. Then at a later visit I again went to insist that his upper back molars were decaying, which I noticed during diaper changes. And he said, why yes, they are decaying, how on earth did you even notice them? So another costly procedure with restorations in the office with gas. 

 

So at that point I said no more night nursing. And at least so far there are no new cavities. But one of his front tooth veneers has chipped when he chomped down on the toothbrush in protest, and I hate looking at the thing but amazingly the dentist says to leave it and not fix it. I think the exposed part of the tooth is starting to go bad, but seriously I am getting tired of diagnosing him when it is supposed to be his job!

 

I swear I am going to personally pay for a semester of college for my dentist's kid, yet he gives me nothing to help prevent or avoid cavities, and forget early detection, he is either half blind or likes to wait until there is a huge complicated and expensive procedure to be had rather than attempting to help the teeth stay healthy. And in February, he did a regular check-up  for my 2 sons, no new recommendations, and for that pleasure I get a bill for $400.

 

That is my experience with night nursing and cavities, and while it wasn't completely the fault of night nursing alone, it was not like I could have just fed my son only lettuce and irrigated his mouth throughout the night to avoid the effects of the fact that he would eat food during the day and not salivate at night. And I was very thorough about brushing.

 

So feel free to night nurse if you have a good pediatric dentist for your son, but if yours is terrible like mine, then I guess it is night-weaning or cavities galore. And the worst thought is having to look for another dentist, though I suspect the local shoe salesman or migrant fruit picker might actually be a better dentist than my licensed, trained, so-called dentist. 


Edited by La Limena - 4/16/11 at 11:20pm
post #7 of 15


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalasmueller View Post

I'm curious how the Dental Essentials is working for you.  Any progress?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama4life14 View Post

We only started using it about 2 weeks ago, but so far we see no further decay then what was there when we started it. I'm hoping that's as far as it will get. We really are doing everything in our power to stop the decay. I feel like I finally have enough knowledge about tooth decay and nutrition, along with breastfeeding and proper brushing (although I'm sure I don't know everything, there is lots to know!). I've been reading about these things non-stop since we found out! So I'm pretty sure his teeth will be okay in the end.

 

Do keep us updated. I'm interested in what they say about the form of calcium phosphate being most appropriate for rebuilding teeth, as well as of course combining it with the K2 and D3. I have a son who cannot take cod liver oil due to bleeding issues, and he also had a round of really intense surgery-related meds a few years ago that did something to his teeth, according to the dentists. He already eats well -- bone broths, good fats, raw milk, etc -- and I had been supplementing him with K2 and D3 (Thorne) and a mineral supplement, as well as cell salts. We saw no improvement, but he has extensive decay so maybe it's hard to see improvement with such decay. I was still surprised to see no improvement, though.

 

He just got his first dental work last week, and did great. He'll have more in the coming weeks. My secondary hope is, now that we're doing the dentist fix on the worst teeth, that the less damaged teeth can have another chance to heal. I think I may order some of the dentalessentials blend and give it a try. Let us know how it goes for you. I'll try to update too. We're doing cell salts too, and one of the ones we're doing is calc phos, which I bet would work very synergistically with the DentalEssentials blend of minerals.
 

 

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

I've now been using the dental essentials for just over a month, and I still don't see any definitive results. The website says 3 months, so I'm still awaiting a better result. I still think that the decay hasn't gotten any worse, but we have been using flouride and regular brushing too. The 2 teeth that were decayed the worse (the two beside the top front teeth) have started to chip due to the weakness of the teeth. The left side tooth is pretty much all gone except for the root. The right side tooth is well on it's way to being the same. The nerve on neither of those teeth has been exposed so the dentist said it's okay to just leave the teeth like they are now, and the plan is to get them cleaned and filled 6 months from now. They won't be normal teeth, just basically filled to protect the nerve. He said that if the nerve starts to show, the teeth should be pulled to prevent infection, and permanent damage to his future teeth. Not to mention my son will be in immense pain if the nerve shows through. Praying that doesn't happen. His top 2 teeth aren't as far gone as the other 2 beside them. I'm also praying those will remineralize soon, as those teeth are important for speech development. We should be able to just fill those teeth as well in 6 months. We are hoping to slow the decay enough so that my son will need nothing but laughing gas to get the procedure done 6 months from now. He's already done awesome at the dentist. Didnt even cry the last time the dentist looked in his mouth. As for the dental essentials I'll continue to keep you updated on how well it works or doesn't.

post #9 of 15

 

Breastfeeding works differently then bottle feeding. When breastfeeding the milk DOES NOT pool in the mouth like it does a bottle fed baby's.

 

Here is a great presentation from Dr. Brian Palmer. Dr. Palmer has given international, national and state presentations on the dental issue and the breastfeed infant. He is a recognized expert in the area. I hope this information helps. Also you can help others in the future if you share this information with your dental care providers.

 

post #10 of 15

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama4life14 View Post

I've now been using the dental essentials for just over a month, and I still don't see any definitive results. The website says 3 months, so I'm still awaiting a better result. I still think that the decay hasn't gotten any worse, but we have been using flouride and regular brushing too. The 2 teeth that were decayed the worse (the two beside the top front teeth) have started to chip due to the weakness of the teeth. The left side tooth is pretty much all gone except for the root. The right side tooth is well on it's way to being the same. The nerve on neither of those teeth has been exposed so the dentist said it's okay to just leave the teeth like they are now, and the plan is to get them cleaned and filled 6 months from now. They won't be normal teeth, just basically filled to protect the nerve. He said that if the nerve starts to show, the teeth should be pulled to prevent infection, and permanent damage to his future teeth. Not to mention my son will be in immense pain if the nerve shows through. Praying that doesn't happen. His top 2 teeth aren't as far gone as the other 2 beside them. I'm also praying those will remineralize soon, as those teeth are important for speech development. We should be able to just fill those teeth as well in 6 months. We are hoping to slow the decay enough so that my son will need nothing but laughing gas to get the procedure done 6 months from now. He's already done awesome at the dentist. Didnt even cry the last time the dentist looked in his mouth. As for the dental essentials I'll continue to keep you updated on how well it works or doesn't.


Have you considered using MI paste? We're looking at it now. It might be what you need to by you six months, at least.

 

post #11 of 15

Just out of curiosity, does your LO have a lip tie?  I attended a presentation by Dr. Kotlow, a pedi dentist from Albany, NY, yesterday.  He said the he believes cavities on the front surface of the front teeth in breastfeeding infants is often caused by a tight maxillary frenum (lip tie).  He said that he no longer believes that "baby bottle tooth decay" happens in breastfed babies unless there is a lip tie.  Here is a link to his article published in the Journal of Human Lactation:  http://www.kiddsteeth.com/articles/The_Influence_of_the_Maxillary_Frenum_on_the_Development_and_Pattern_of_Dental_Caries_on_Anterior_Teeth_in_Breastfeeding_Infants_Prevention,_Diagnosis_and_Treatment010[1].pdf 

 

There is more info and pictures on his website at www.kiddsteeth.com.  The "Breastfeeding Should be Fun" file has good pictures.

post #12 of 15

My 8-month-old has a lip tie. I am really in turmoil over what to do because her sisters both have had "baby bottle tooth decay" and they do NOT have lip tie...so I am extra worried about her! She has three upper teeth, one of which has only just recently come in, and so far they seem fine but it wasn't until 11 or 12 months that I noticed a problem with her sisters' teeth.

 

Anyway, I read this article by Dr. Kotlow over the weekend, and that's what's brought me to this thread, as I'm trying to decide where to go from here. I know that I would be advised by most dentists to night wean my baby immediately, but I am SO loathe to do it...so I've very much appreciated this thread. Thank you.

post #13 of 15
post #14 of 15

I want to comment on the issue of night weaning.  I really appreciate the comments from andreabb's husband.  This correlates with what I've read from other sources. 

 

I have night nursed all my children for years after tooth eruption.  I night weaned my twins at 2 1/2, not due to caries.  My DD did have caries, which our family dentist attributed to unrestricted nursing.  I disagreed and declined to change how I nursed my child.  We found a pediatric dentist who treated her teeth without general anesthetic (including extracting a front tooth that abscessed at 2 1/2 after being chipped when she was a toddler).  DS had no caries until after weaning completely.  All their caries have been between their teeth, even though we've flossed since they were 2.  They have a family history of horrible dental issues, not enough space in their mouths, and we are already working with an orthodontist (they're 9). 

 

DD2 still nurses at night at 2 1/2 and I have no plans to night wean her.  We've just realized she has a cavity at the gumline of one of her canines.  She also has an upper lip tie, so I appreciated the article from the PP on issues with lip tie and milk pooling.  DD1 also has an upper lip tie but did not have any of the decay noted in the article.

 

But. . . my children are more than their teeth.  I will keep taking good care of their teeth with brushing and flossing, using xylitol, attempting to remineralize the spot on DD2's tooth, use dental care as needed to keep them healthy and prevent bacterial effects on their permanent teeth/body.  I won't wean simply because of tooth decay.  Nursing provides so much more to my child.  There is plenty of research that supports long-term nursing for its many physical and emotial benefits but research doesn't substantiate breastmilk causing tooth decay.  Why are we told to wean our children?  Why not eliminate simple carbs from their diets?  When I asked my dentist to say something to my inlaws about giving the kids soda (she treats our whole family), she told me that soda didn't cause tooth decay.  Really?!?  But you want me to wean from breastmilk to avoid tooth decay.  Crazy.

post #15 of 15

I too night nurse & co-sleep with my child. At around 16 months we began to notice the enamel on his front teeth was chipping off.  Took him to a pedi-dentist who said I shouldn't be night nursing my child.  Baloney.  Found another pedi-dentist who said it was possible this was a result of night nursing but healthy tooth enamel on a newly erupted tooth should have been some protection.  His own wife night nursed all their sons & he approved.  Said it was very good for the developing mouth/jaw.  We put the little tyke under general anesthesia & capped all 4 front teeth (which were begining to crumble) with porcelain/silver cosmetic crowns.  They look good - you'd never know it was a crown.  A few months later we were back at the dentist, this time because the bottom teeth were also begining to chip.  The dentist said there was no way this could be attributed to night nursing & for me to feel good about continuing because this kind of tooth decay was simply not normal or preventable.  There is a medical term - which I forget - and it turns out is often genetic.  Family inquires revealed that my hubby's sister had the exact same thing happen to her as a baby, only back then they had all silver crowns, not the pretty cosmetic ones of today.  

 

My 2 cents - continue to night nurse your child & don't worry about the general anesthesia if he needs it for a dental procedure.  My son tolerated it very well, they sedate them first, then take them back for the IV.  When they come out of it they can be a bit queasy, so we sat in bed at home and watched a lot of Goodnight Gorilla, etc.  By afternoon he was fine & back to his old self but with a better smile.  8-)  

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