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Kefir question

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I've recently learned about all the benefits of Kefir and want to add it to my family's diet. My DS is going to be 1 in a couple of weeks, and I was thinking of give him some too. He eats yogurt and cheese with no problem (LOVES them!). Is kefir okay for a toddler? Is there a limit on how much he should have? Anything you can tell me would be great to know!

post #2 of 18
I've read on a kefir website that it's an ideal food for babies...so I guess it'd be good for a toddler. I just googled kefir and clicked on the first link. I'm pretty sure it was kefir.com
post #3 of 18
Well I just tried kefir.com but it redirected me to Lifeway's website (not the website I had in mind).
post #4 of 18
I gave ds kefir from live grains when he was 1. The only thing you need to be sure to do is brush baby's teeth. Kefir leaves bacteria on the teeth and will cause decay. We had to stop using live kefir do to issues with candida. It just didn't agree with me. The powdered kefir has been fine though.
post #5 of 18
Most comprehensive source of kefir info: Dom's Kefir InSite

I also like the powder starter better than the grains.

Originally Posted by cjr
The only thing you need to be sure to do is brush baby's teeth. Kefir leaves bacteria on the teeth and will cause decay.
Do you have sources for this?
How can probiotics cause decay?

I do know that it's acidic and Dom warns about NOT brushing teeth right away as acidic foods temporarily soften the tooth enamel (hardens up shortly with action of saliva bring the ph back up).
post #6 of 18

Because kefir is very potent, it is important to brush teeth after eating. Prolonged usage can wear away tooth enamel.
This is with the powdered kefir starter. A good and highly recommended starter. I don't see how it would be recommended to brush with the starter and not with a live grain? They both have the yeast and the bacteria.

It makes sense to me. Probiotics are an active bacteria. Bacteria will cause wear on enamel, which causes tooth decay.
post #7 of 18
That's the starter I use as well. However, I have found many things that Donna Gates says that I do not agree with.

I still don't think its bacteria, but the acid issue. For ex. the reason why cheese is good after a meal is because it raises the ph level of the saliva. That helps remineralization of the teeth by allowing the minerals in the saliva to do their job in a hospitable ph.

The acid problem was described on Dom's site but I cannot find that right now. Maybe it was discussed on his Yahoo list.

We want probiotics in our mucous tissues to repel the particular bacterium like s. mutans that contributes to cavities... not all bacteria are the same. Probiotics have been shown to have a protective effect in the mouth.

Çaglar E, Sandalli N, Twetman S, Selvi S, Ergeneli S, Kavaloglu S
Acta Odontol Scand 2005;accepted.

Effect of yoghurt with Bifidobacterium DN-173010 on salivary mutans streptococci and lactobacilli

Abstract. Probiotic bacteria are thought to reduce the risk of disease. Previous studies have suggested that lactobacilli-derived probiotics in dairy products may affect the oral ecology but the effect of bifidobacteria has not previously been reported. The aim of the present study was to examine whether or not a short-term consumption of yogurt containing bifidobacteria would affect the salivary levels of mutans streptococci and lactobacilli in young adults. A double blind, randomized crossover study was performed and 21 healthy subjects were followed over four periods. During period 2 and 4 (two weeks each), they ingested 200 g yogurt containing Bifidobacterium DN-173 010 once daily or a control yogurt without viable bacteria. Periods 1 and 3 were run-in and washout periods, respectively. Salivary mutans streptococci and lactobacilli were enumerated with chair-side kits. A statistically significant reduction (p<0.05) of salivary mutans streptococci was recorded after the probiotic yogurt consumption, which was in contrast to the controls. A similar trend was seen for lactobacilli but this decrease failed to reach statistical significance. In conclusion, probiotic bifidobacteria in yogurt may reduce the levels of selected caries-associated microorganisms in saliva.
A randomized clinical trial of the effect of yoghurt on the human salivary microflora.

Lactobacillus reuteri in bovine milk fermented decreases the oral carriage of mutans streptococci.
post #8 of 18
Oh and by the way, Robin as far as limiting the amount of kefir a toddler eats, just watch his poops and digestion... they'll tell you if he is consuming too much and the changes in his intestinal flora are going too fast.
post #9 of 18
I do not have time to read study after study. It's just what I read and passed on. I have not been able to find any info on Dom's site regarding this issue. If someone else says it's better to not brush after drinking kefir, great. It's just what I read.
post #10 of 18
Originally Posted by cjr
I do not have time to read study after study. It's just what I read and passed on. I have not been able to find any info on Dom's site regarding this issue. If someone else says it's better to not brush after drinking kefir, great. It's just what I read.
Yes we are all busier than is healthy sometimes.
However, I think it's important to be accurate.
post #11 of 18

Q. How much kefir can one drink?
A. As much as you feels comfortable with. Many individuals may have one cup of kefir in the morning and one at night before bed time. Some individuals enjoy a small glass of kefir before each meal. One word of caution: like yoghurt, kefir contains lactic acid bacteria which can erode the tooth enamel, so be sure to rinse your mouth with water after consuming kefir, or after consuming food which contains lactic or acetic acid.
I joined the two yahoo kefir groups. This is what was forwarded to me. So, this is the second thing I have read concerning the erosion kefir can cause to tooth enamel. I agree that we should be as accurate as possible, but I still can not find anything telling me not to watch for tooth erosion.

I am seriously interested on this issue. I think it's important. Perhaps you are right on the no brushing part?
post #12 of 18
I'm curious about this too. DS (just turned 19 months) was dx'd with his first cavity. I noticed it behind one of his upper front teeth when I would tip him backwards while playing. Got it checked, and it is a cavity.

He isn't a big eater in general, we don't do cheerios or many cracker type things. He has had a taste of juice 2x in his life. We wiped his teeth every night before bed since he got his first tooth in. THe dentist of course blamed it on his night feedings and he's the "most BFing friendly" ped dentist in the area...

It is frustrating to have a healthy and great diet and now deal with this. I'm trying to limit his carbs in general but he eats so little to begin with, kwim? He looooves cheese and will eat raw milk cheddar, but dairy seems to give him constipation issues. So...it is dealing w/ constipation vs. his oral health these days.

IN any case, we did do a lot of probiotics around the time those teeth were erupting. I'd put it on my breast before he nursed at bedtime. Now I wonder if that might have contributed a bit to the decay. No way to know obviously...

Oh, and I never had antibiotics in pregnancy or labor and he was born vaginally (both CS and antibiotic use are considered possible risk factors for early childhood caries). He hasn't ever had antibiotics either. DH and I don't have many cavities at all. So I keep wondering where the heck it came from...maybe it is just bad luck.

We're doing several things to help him, but I'm not sure if I want to add probiotics back into the mix or not at this point. I think L. Salivarus is good for preventing tooth decay? We did use a blend of probiotics that contained it at one point in time.
post #13 of 18
Probiotics do not cause tooth decay. The few modern studies I found showed that it is beneficial.

The ultimate studies of tooth decay were done by Weston Price who went beyond the acid/alkaline balance or current bacterial theory that is exclusively blamed for decay.

Decay is caused by nutrition... vitamins and minerals levels in the mother's as well as the baby's diet.

I used to think I knew what a great diet was too, until I read his research. In one such experiment, he had schoolchildren from the 1930 in an inner city school eat a very healthy lunch everyday that completely stopped all tooth decay and remineralized their teeth. Their saliva literally changed to include more minerals.

The menu for lunch was (I just looked this up): orange or tomato juice with 1/2 tsp each cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil added, bone marrow broth stew with meat and veggies including carrots, whole wheat sourdough bread that had been made from freshly ground wheat , raw butter, raw milk, cooked fruit with very little sweetner. Even though they ate donuts and white flour and syrup and coffee with a lot of sugar for the rest of their meals at home the fortification of this extremely high vitamin/mineral content lunch protected them. Behavior and learning was also improved.

Given his unique and detailed findings, I truly cannot understand why this is not the school lunch in every single school across the globe. Well, actually I do understand why and it's sad.

Constipation can be a symptom of intestinal flora imbalance as well as lack of fruit/veggies in diet. If dairy causes constipation, it's possible your DS doesn't have the digestive strength to break it down completely. Has this been a chronic problem for him? You say he eats so little b/c he is not hungry or because he is doesn't tolerate other foods?

I wish I could put my DS on the Weston Price/Nourishing Traditions diet. His digestion is not good enough at this point, he cannot eat grains or dairy but we are doing bone broths. I truly live in fear of his dental health b/c I know his intestinal flora is compromised. Thank goodness we've had him on cod liver oil for his eczema since the beginning. I just want others to learn from my mistakes, b/c I do believe the strength of your intestinal flora and quality of your diet is everything.
post #14 of 18
DS just doesn't have a big appetite and never has. He was never a big solids eater even before constipation issues which have gradually become worse.

It is so hard right now...I'm debating cutting out dairy to see if it helps his constipation but know that raw dairy is good for his teeth. He was sensitive to dairy in my breastmilk so I didn't do any dairy myself with him until he was close to a year. He seemed to tolerate it better at that point.

I don't think the probiotics are to blame but I had a healthy diet and so has he. No antibiotics in our history, and as I said, a vaginal birth. He eats a lot of fruit and veggies (well a lot of variety, not quanitity). He looooves tomatoes

It is soooo hard right now for me to juggle the teeth issue w/ the constipation. I dont' want to give him juice or raisins because of his teeth (he did eat raisins pre-cavity diagnosis because he liked them and I was glad to get some iron into him as his iron was a bit low around 12 months of age, so that may have not helped the cavity situation), but I don't want him constipated forever. We're going to probably start miralax or something when we see the pediatrician in a few days but I want to get to the root of the problem...but I'm not sure what it is for him
post #15 of 18
Any chance of celiac disease? It might be worth to take a blood test.
post #16 of 18
I know a little bit about celiac disease but not a ton. I know it is common and becoming even more so. My mom was diagnosed with a wheat "allergy" years ago but still eats it. She has reflux but not any bowel issues.

Can you tell me more about the blood test? Can any doc do it or do I need to see a naturapath?

post #17 of 18
Low iron, constipation and low appetite can be symptoms of celiac. On a more extreme basis, the tummy gets distended. Basically the intestinal villi (little fingers in intestines) get damaged, they wear down, and do not absorb nutrients into the bloodstream or digest food properly. Blood test for celiac is done thru regular Peds.

Constipation has a cause, it's not normal. But also intestinal flora plays a role, which regular Peds don't recognize... I really think conventional medicine does not have a solution to constipation. I know of Peds that just px mineral oil (!) or Miralax indefinately. That is incredibly unhealthy and leads to further problems with absorption of nutrients. But at least your Ped can be used to rule things out.
post #18 of 18
Oh and re: your mother, it's probably likely that she is not celiac if she doesn't have bowel problems.

I know I'm not celiac and I do not have the intestinal flora to digest wheat on a regular basis but I do have bowel problems. Well had, until I found the correct diet and supplements for me.
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