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Told to Wean? Dentist/Mom's opinion on BF/Dental Caries - Page 2

post #21 of 80
We are going through the same dilema with our 20 month old. I too do not feel that b-feeding is the sole cause but did try to night wean.( I got sick and we gave up and haven't started again) But i guess i feel the same way if it will help stop the decay it is worth a try. I think some children are more prone to cavaties than others due to physiological reasons and genetics and their nursing habits. But i wouldn't do it unless you really feel ready. It definately has to feel right. I'm still questioning it myself!! i'm just worried a few months from now the dentist will say her teeth are worse. I wish you the best of luck!!!Actually i would say if you do decide to night wean take it very slow, maybe just give alternatives like reading books (alot of them) or back rubs.My daughter was doing ok though she cried a bunch she also started to fall aleep on her own with no crying and only breastfed once or twice a night instead of 5 times.Now we are back to the beginning though. Good luck with whatever decision you make, happy tooth brushing !!!!
post #22 of 80
Thanks for you support and sympathy. I think that he may be ready to night wean. He only wakes up two or three times most nights and he will usually except me saying no more after a minute or two of nursing and latch off. I know it won't be easy (I nigh weaned by first ds at around 14 months, but I was hoping this time around I could let my ds night wean on his own), but I don't think it will be traumatic or I would never even consider it. I think I'm just going to give it a try for a few days and see how it goes. If it seems it is really stressful for him then I'll back off. I don't think he's ready to not nurse to sleep - I think that would be extrememly upsetting to him. So we have a follow up visit with the dentist in two months. I hope that just night weaning him will have helped without having to completly give up the breast for falling asleep. If his teeth are getting worse even after night weaning I'm going to have an even bigger delema on my hands!
post #23 of 80

same old question, different angle

ok, having read everything in this forum, and confirmed what i already know to be true- that my dentist is full of shit, here is my dilemma
i cannot take my little one to the dentist, as i am on strict bedrest for having experienced a couple of incidents of premature labor
my 2yo dd has been breastfeeding until a month ago, when i decided i did not want to risk the oxytocin effects, i feel that this is potentially temporary, depending on her feelings, she took it well, but is talking a lot about all the milk her baby brother will be bringing her
her teeth show the classic bottle mouth pattern- four front teeth decayed, one broken on a piece of candy the babysitter's daughter gave her
because i cannot bring her to the dentist, dh brought her, and of course, the dentist gave dh the standard load of hooey about breastfeeding being responsible, and of course dh bought it all
so, armed with all this information, charts and pictures, etc from the dentist, he has an arsenal of weaponry he can use against me in the war on breastfeeding
i have already gone through all this nonsense with him over my first daughter, who he had been badgering me about weaning from the time she was 9mo till when we finally gave it up at about four and a half years
my second daughter escaped his notice, probably because he was so busy trying to get me to stop nursing my four year old girl, but now she has bad teeth, and the dentist is saying it is the fault of extended breastfeeding, and dh has put his foot down
dd will not resume breastfeeding when baby is born, AND baby will not nurse past a year- cut him off at his birthday (a lot of say he has in the matter, HA, but it will create a lot of stress)

what i am looking for is some convincing information, from good, solid sources, that i can use to counter his dentist supported nonsense

i dont need to be convinced- i am certain i know what i am doing, but how much i regret the loss of all the info that was lost from this forum
post #24 of 80
I know this isn't exactly what you need,but I will try to find the information if noone else remembers where it was from... the study I remember found that breastmilk only causes decay when sugar is left in the mouth overnight. In other words, breastmilk shouldn't hurt if ALL the sugar is brushed and rinsed away before bed (of course, sometimes the babes fall asleep and who wants to wake them up ).

I am really gonna try to remember where I read this study.
post #25 of 80
I just wanted to let everyone know that we had a great visit with the new ped. dentist I found in Philadelphia. DS has very early stage caries and will only require a little drilling and some bonding. We night weaned last week. I have to say I was really dreading it and was certain that DS was not ready. Well, it seems like I worried too much over this. Weaning took a total of three nights and was quite easy. The first night killed me, but after when he woke up in great spirits, I felt much better and the second and third nights were very easy - just reinforcement. When I told the new dentist that he was already night weaned but that we were not going to wean during the day, he said the night weaning was the right step and that there was no reason to day wean. I feel soooo much better. I hope everyone has success with their searches for responsible dentists.

post #26 of 80
Oh man, ooka, me too. I'm having to retype everything, and with the twins here now, I just have no time. I save up and answer a bunch on here, and then I have no time to just be me, either here or "home".

Well, honey, use me, girlfriend. One dentist against another, cancel his ass out. He *is* full of shit. There's a ton of threads on here, I'll sign my DDS to them. (One especially, "20 month old with cavities, told to stop breastfeeding", and more, unfortunately you'll have to browse because it's not always in the titles...) Kathryn Dettwyler has a lot of info on toddler nursing, especially the anthropological aspects. Oh yes, I'm sure nature made children naturally wean at 4.5 so that their teeth will rot out ... :

Tell your dh a little information is a dangerous thing. I've been in the dental profession for 22 years, and I'm *here* because I want to help moms listen to their hearts to do what's right for them and their children and to weed out the ignorant crap some of their dentists are feeding them.

I have cited on here several very well done studies supporting the fact that nursing toddlers are NOT destined for decayed teeth. It can happen, but it can also be prevented.

Good luck, sorry your dh is giving you a rough time.

See you around!
post #27 of 80
dotcommama, there are a lot of threads on here that specifically address the nightweaning issue. Only nightwean if you are both ready; don't do it just because of the dentist. The thread "20 month old with cavities, told to stop breastfeeding" is a good start, but there are many others. "Preventing bottlemouth in 1 year old" is another. You might have to browse, it's not always in the title. You can also use your search button.

Momacat, I'm so sorry for your boys and for you! It's even harder on the mamas, I think. What hard won knowledge you have, thank you for sharing. I'm glad you all are off to a fresh start now.
post #28 of 80
OH, I just cannot express how happy I am for you all!

Thank you, thank you PB'smom for posting back with your update! I have been thinking of you and wondering how you were doing and what happened. How wonderful that you found someone so close by. I love that he doesn't venture his personal opinion; so many confuse the facts with what their wife did! : And clearly, whatever he feels, he doesn't let it cloud what's real, and what's important to the parents. I'm so happy for you, I can hardly type! (I've had to correct just about every word I've typed so far! ) Once he is all fixed up, you all will have a clean slate and great information about preventing it from ever happening again. And it will all be behind you. Yippee!

And Gaia mom, how fantastic that it's so minor! I'm so glad for you both! It will be all fixed up in no time, and like with Peter, never again. Awesome! Even better is that you found someone who you're comfortable with and who you both have had good experiences with. Please let us know how your son (and you ) do when it's all fixed up!

Hooray, I love this thread! It started so sad and now everyone's at peace. I really will sleep better tonight!
post #29 of 80
oh smilemomma- i didnt know you had twins, how old are they?
thanks for replying, i'll go back and look again, although he will probably discount anything i find here just because he tends to do that- you should have seen his reaction to some of the stuff i found on la leche leagues website
now he is running around saying i belong to the milk league

think he's a bit jealous, huh?
maybe i'll offer him some...

i'll try medline, that sounds promising
post #30 of 80
yep, they are 14 months (yesterday and the day before -- they have separate birthdays, about 6 hours apart). I also have a 5 yo!

Does he have to know where it came from? Anyway, all the above sources are "well respected", as opposed to LLL, of course : And of course, the HSL just gives the abstract of the actual study -- can't get more "official" than that!

Good luck!
post #31 of 80

Feeling remorse over ds's teeth and night-nursing...

When My son, now 2.5 years, was about 12 months I noticed his front tooth appeared 'chipped' a bit. I figured he had fallen and chipped it. I had a friend of mine from church, a dentist for over 25 years, take a look. He agreed it looked chipped.

A couple of months later I noticed it appeared to have chipped more. I was worried and called ds's ped. She did not think it was a problem -- just chipped. As I continued to watch it, I always felt a small reassurance because his ped thought it was okay.

At 15 months ds fell in the bathtub and hit his two front teeth. They were loose; he could not nurse with out crying, so we took him to the ER. The doc there said in light of his accident his teeth were fine, but he had severe decay and needed to see a ped dentist ASAP.

The next day I was able to find a ped dentist who would see him despite his age. They agreed he would need caps, fillings, etc. He was knocked out, x-rayed, fixed-up, and sent out.

I was so distraught! I never told anyone he was still nursing at night because I equated it to sending him to bed with a bottle of Kool-Aid.

He had to get caps on his four top teeth; he got fillings in 3 other teeth, and 2 other molars had to be capped!

We brushed his teeth since he got his first ones (4 months old) at least once a day. Did he get these because of nursing? Or in spite of nursing? It makes me nervous because I have a new nursling and I am wondering about his teeth...
post #32 of 80
Hi Stacie,

I am no expert, but I noticed that nobody had replied to you yet and thought I'd throw what I do *know* out at ya.

I have read that night nursing is not good for kids after their teeth erupt for precisely the problems you're now facing. However, I have also read that the problems are very rare, and that you can combat the potential for developing problems by wiping the teeth with a rag right after the baby is finished nursing.

As to whether or not night nursing actually did cause your son's dental problems - I don't know about that. I do believe, though, that some people are genetically predisposed to having more difficult teeth in terms of decay. It could be that and have nothing to do with night nursing. After all, tons of children are nursed around the clock and their teeth develop just fine.

I would go ahead and night nurse your new one - the breastmilk is so vital to his health - just be aware that when teeth erupt you'll need to wipe them with a rag after nursing.

Any experts out there who can verify or add their .02?

post #33 of 80
Well, I haven't checked out the archives but wanted to add my two cents.

I feel like, we weren't made with milk that would ruin our babies' teeth, you know. We were made with the perfect food to be given on demand (that includes the night) and for however long our children feel they need it.

Now, I'm not saying you need to be feeding on demand until your child weans himself. What I'm saying is, if left alone, this is what happens.

Why, on earth, would our milk ruin our babies' teeth. It feels like another attempt at making women feel our bodies are somehow inadequate, and that science knows something about our babies that our motherheart does not.

There are many articles out there, if you do need science, regarding the fact night feeding does not cause dental carries. Of course, lots to the contrary too.

In the end, your child's milk teeth (funny how they're called that) will fall out and by then, he'll no longer be nursing.

Don't doubt yourself. You know what's right for your babies. If nightfeeding on demand feels right in your motherheart, it's right.
post #34 of 80
In my dream time last night, it came to me where the article is I was thinking about regarding breastfeeding and dental caries.

It's written by a woman named Marnie Ko and appears in the Canadian magazine called "Alive". However, Marnie Ko is the editor and publisher of "Nurturing Magazine" and that can be found on the web at www.nurturing.ca.

The article basically says;

Medical and dental literature and studies have failed to scientifically and without bias prove that breastfeeding and specifically night nursings, increase the risk of dental caries in infants.

Research now clearly provides evidence that microflora levels of strep and lactobacilli present in children are important factors that predispose one to caries.

Strep feeds and thrives on sugar. Caries most often present in people who consume large amounts of sugar. Eliminate sugar from diet.

Diet can be more important in development of caries than heredity.

Mother's diet during pregnancy plays large role in infant's development.

In first trimester, fetus's baby teeth forming. When mother ill with nausea and vomiting, more likely her child's teeth are weak and susceptible to decay.

Need to maintain adequate calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin intake during pregnancy.

Fevers during pregnancy linkied to more incidence of caries, as fevers upset the balance of calcium and phosphorus salts in her bloodstream. When fever during fifth and ninth months of pregnancy, baby's teeth may not mineralize properly.

Also fevers in infant, even before time teeth erupt, anywhere from four months to as long as nine or ten months.

Premature babies susceptible to tooth decay. They can sometimes have a condition called enamel hypoplasia, which is similar to bottle mouth syndrome and is common too in infants with cerebral palsy.

Children with food and environmental allergies susceptible to tooth decay. Attributed to lower immune system function and fact allergies result in mouth being more acidic.

Congested children often breathe exclusively through their mouths, which relsults in less saliva production. Without protective aspect of saliva, which contains an enzyme that helps prevent tooth decay, caries more common.

Then she cautions to "watch the bottle", which I don't think is of interest for you?

Bascially she says there is "undeniable and considerable evidence that children have become victims of the power of persuasion of modern marketing, advertising, poor health choices and lifestyles".

She says dental caries have skyrocketed with the amount of packaged refined foods, loaded with simple carbohydrates and sugar that are so profitable to big business. Then parents are sold fluoridated toothpaste and dental treatment, also big business.

Anyhow, don't know if anything in there rings true for you or maybe gives you some questions to ask your dentist. I think that's the thing, just keep asking questions of many different kinds of people to get many different kinds of answers. The one that fits with your belief system (what I call your motherheart, or instinct) will be the one that "feels right to you".

Other ways to get info on this is to search the web, perhaps under LaLeche. Or go to your university and look up some studies done on the subject. Ask your dentist (if he's saying it is from breastfeeding at night) to provide you with the name and author of the scientific paper that proves it, and where you can find that study. (Keep in mind, was the study done by a group of dentists, or by a fluouride company, or if it's a name you don't recognize, find out who's behind the name. It could surprise you. It could bias the paper!) If he can't tell you that, ask him then where he's getting his info from.

Ok, hope this is more helpful.
post #35 of 80

has night weaning worked?

I hope someone will reply to this! Sorry it is so long!!!
I have a 17 mo old ds with rapidly spreading decay on his front teeth--one is completely brown in back, and that happened within three months, and there are two very tiny spots on two others (in back). I went to a great ped denstist (my 5 yr old dd goes to her also--dd by the way had a cavity in each molar by the time she was 2 1/2--they were all superficial and filled without any pain meds--dd was such a champ even laughing saying that the drill tickled. Ds is a very diffrent child!); the dentist said three months ago to just keep an eye on the then one spot, to brush 2X/day and let him swallow the paste, and to wipe his teeth after night nursing. We have been religiously cleaning his teeth ( and have been since he got his first tooth at four months),but I can't bring myself to wake him up to clean his teeth at night. His cavities have only gotten worse and spread. We do not drink juice, no raisins, and he only very occasionaly has sugar--like when his sister slips him a cookie, maybe once every week. His biggest cavity is on the side of his mouth that he sleeps on, and he is a major "snacky" night time nurser--sip here, sip there, all night long. He also "stores" food in his mouth--like a chipmunk.

What I want to know, is there anyone out there whose child had tooth decay who then night-weaned their child and noticed a reduction in tooth decay? I have read a lot from people who have tried everything BUT night-weaning only to still have to have a huge amount of very invasive dental work done. At this point my ds is already going to have to have something done, but I'd like this to be it, and it seems that gently night-weaning is going to be much less tramautic then continued dental trauma.
I can't handle having to papoose him, or put him under with GA (which I don't think my insurance will do anyway) only to have to have to do it again 6 months from now.
I continued to night nurse my dd until she was almost 4 when we weaned completely, and she has never had any other dental troubles except for some staining which I was told is genetic (Dad and grandmother have staining, and bad teeth for that matter). I was told with dd that her molar cavities were from very deep molar crevasses--not nursing. My ds has what seems to be classic early "bottle mouth".
And given that he seems prone to decay, ought I to press to have his molars sealed (he has all of his teeth already)?
Boy, I would love to hear from anyone on this. It's so hard to feel like you've done everything right (no sugar, brushing well), only to still have them get cavities!!!
post #36 of 80
Hi, I'm with you on trying to do everything right (nursing on demand, several small meals a day, no juice, not much sugar) and then having a child with cavities. My (just turned) 2 year old daughter just had surgery for 7 cavities and 1 cap (dentist said he could have capped 2 more but didn't - I could have killed him for not doing it while she was already under). Anyway, I can't help you on night weaning, I tried it but my daughter was hysterical so we quit after 2 nights. I tried for a while to stay awake to brush her teeth after she nursed at night but she nurses frequently at night and she always wakes up when I try to brush or wipe down her teeth. Since weaning didn't go easily I surmised that it was not a habit but a need for her so I backed off and let her nurse.

I read a really good article from Le Leche League on the subject which tells the story from the mother's perspective then from the pediatric dentist's perspective. Basically the dentist says to brush after meal, wipe down after every nursing (even night if you can, but if not just be very vigilant during the day). He also says put flouride on the teeth and wipe off the excess. Try very hard not to let them swallow any because it will cause discoloration of the adult teeth. Also, don't let kids share spoons, forks, or drinks with parents or other kids because bacteria that causes dental caries is passed from one person to the next. I would scan the article and post here but it is very long. You might go to LLL website and see if you can find it. It's printed in the "New Beginnings" magazine and is called "Coping with dental caries" and "A Pediatic Dentist's Perspective" in the Jan - Feb 1997 edition. Hope this helps.
post #37 of 80
Thanks for your response, Ginger.
What you went through with your little dd is exactly what I want to avoid! BUT, I can't imagine taking away nightime nursing from my little guy either. UG!!!
post #38 of 80

Oh Smilemomma...

Has anyone nominated you for sainthood yet? What an incredible thing you do by offering us your time and knowledge. Thank you!!!

And now, I have a question.
I brought my ds(17 mo) to our ped dentist today to check on some previously superficial decay--unfortunately, my worst fears were confirmed and it has been recommended that he have a pulpectomy on one tooth and a crown, another crown on another tooth, and a filling on another. These are his top front teeth.
I love this dentist--she's always been very pro-breastfeeding, but her hygeinist today asked me when she saw me nursing ds after being examined if I "knew his decay was caused by demand nursing". PUH-LEASE!!! If I hadn't been so upset I would have read her the riot act, but I couldn't really think at the time because I was feeling so bad for ds and what he's going to have to go thru.
This office does not do GA except in really severe cases, they administer a sedative (demoral) and two other drugs that I can't remember (the paper's downstairs) to basically dope him up--I'm sure you're familiar with the routine. They then swaddle him and do the necessary procedures with Nitrous Oxide. My problem is that they do not let parents in the room. I would really like to be with him, holding him ideally. I don't want him to feel that during this positively most traumatic event of his life, that I'm not there--part of what will make it more tramautic for him will be me not being there--being taken away from Mommy. He has terrible separation anxiety. I just think about what I would have felt like during labor if everyone who was important to me had left me alone and then handed me off to a bunch of strangers who proceeded to do some strange and invasive procedure to me.

What do you feel about this subject? What is your practice?

Thank you again for everything you do.
post #39 of 80
I'm no ped dentist (and certainly no saint ) but I wanted to share our experience. My dd has had dental visits too many to count, but I have always been able to remain with her. If she needs to be held down, I'd much rather my arms were doing the holding. (I usually lay on the chair and she lays on top of me, she's never had any drugs except novocaine and has been having work done since 18 mo...she's 3 now.) My dentist is far from perfect, but she insists that parents remain with children for all procedures and it really just feels right to me. Perhaps you can discuss your concerns with your dent and see if a compromise can be reached? Remember, you are the consumer! As for the totally ignorant comments from the hygienist, scream at home and here, and then, if you are up to it, try to use it as an opportunity to educate. I can so remember the feeling I had when I got a message from the dental receptionist no less, saying that "Dr. K. wanted me to tell you that this (dd's decay) is going to be a continual problem until she is weaned." Oh, cool, so you mean from the day my daughter weans she will NEVER have another dental issue in her life?! I can't wait...ha ha! With the office staff, I try to use every opportunity to talk about all the various people I know (and I have several friends with large families, 6, 7, 8 children) who have extended nursed all their children and never experienced any dental problems. I guess my hope is that they may come to the point where they recognize that while nursing may be one contributing factor of dental decay in some children, it is not the whole cause, and weaning is certainly not the whole solution. Each child is so individualistic, I pray for the day every medical practioner finally gets that. When I hear these people's logic, I liken it to this analogy, "People sometimes get injured in car accidents...cars are dangerous...no one should drive cars." Yes, it's true, some children who nurse will have dental decay, but, many, many children who nurse do not. Just like with our cars, we don't hysterically put the car in the garage and leave it there after hearing of an accident, we strive for ways to make driving safer, accidents and injuries fewer. Certainly nursing and mothering our children is a far more important service than driving?! Surely we can take the time to figure out how to make our children's teeth healthier and still nurse them as they clearly need? Whew...sorry I got on a lil tangent! I'll close with a "go with your gut." It's been proven that Mama's guts are rarely wrong!! Good luck!
post #40 of 80
WOW!! can i relate to yo my DD 16 mo old is scheduled for dental surg on the 23 of may. She is having 2 puplotomy 2 compsite resin and 1 stainless crown UGGH i am heart broke on top of worring aboutt he fear of General aneshtetic. I jhave also been told hat i have to wean her. It isnt an option she just throws a fit and throws her self on the ground crying mamama my heart tells me NOT to wean Emale me direct maybe we can chat
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