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Causes of Decay and Prevention

post #1 of 104
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to share something I read in a new book by Sandra Steingraber, "Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey into Motherhood" (highly recommended, I'll review it in another forum). She discusses the problem of breast milk contamination by environmental pollutants, which is unfortunately more widespread than most realize. In one study from Finland, it was shown that mothers whose breast milk was most contaminated by dioxins had children whose teeth had higher levels of decay. Apparently dioxin interferes with a receptor site for the protein that guides the formation of teeth enamel. So what's a breastfeeding mom to do? (Steingraber emphatically argues that this is NOT a valid argument for recommending that mothers not breastfeed!)
post #2 of 104

Eight month old has cavities???

Oh no!!! Playing with my little one today I noticed that some of his teeth are spotty, not dark or black, but more a light brown color! I'm just horrified that my BABY has already got cavities!?!? He does have almost eight teeth. The top four and bottom four, two of which are just coming through. He got the first ones at 4 months. I don't *think* they came in that way. How could I NOT have noticed this?

To top this off, dh is unemployed and I am a SAHM. We have no dental insurance although I am applying for state benefits for the kids. I think WA has a good program there. I called the one office I know of that has a good record as far as bf and kids with caries, but they aren't taking new dshs patients. I have an appointment at the Community Health Center in about three weeks, they have a sliding scale, at least. I'm sad that I am going somewhere that wasn't recommended by a trusted friend though.

In the meantime, I plan to swipe his teeth after every nursing as well as brush with the First Teeth flouride-free gel. Is there anything else I can do?

Did I cause this by drinking coffee????? I've never seen the study but a friend has told me that she read somewhere that excessive cafienne intake during pg and bf can weaken enamel. I feel so guilty.

Dawn, whose head may very well implode tomorrow without coffee. And who feels incredibly sad for her littlest baby!
post #3 of 104

Eight month old w/ cavities? (X-Posted)

Woops, I posted this in the dental caries & bf board before I found this one. Although Caelan IS nursing...I haven't confirmed that he does have cavities or been hassled about nursing.

Oh no!!! Playing with my little one today I noticed that some of his teeth are spotty, not dark or black, but more a light brown color! I'm just horrified that my BABY has already got cavities!?!? He does have almost eight teeth. The top four and bottom four, two of which are just coming through. He got the first ones at 4 months. I don't *think* they came in that way. How could I NOT have noticed this?

To top this off, dh is unemployed and I am a SAHM. We have no dental insurance although I am applying for state benefits for the kids. I think WA has a good program there. I called the one office I know of that has a good record as far as bf and kids with caries, but they aren't taking new dshs patients. I have an appointment at the Community Health Center in about three weeks, they have a sliding scale, at least. I'm sad that I am going somewhere that wasn't recommended by a trusted friend though.

In the meantime, I plan to swipe his teeth after every nursing as well as brush with the First Teeth flouride-free gel. Is there anything else I can do?

Did I cause this by drinking coffee????? I've never seen the study but a friend has told me that she read somewhere that excessive cafienne intake during pg and bf can weaken enamel. I feel so guilty.

Dawn, whose head may very well implode tomorrow without coffee. And who feels incredibly sad for her littlest baby!
post #4 of 104

Thanks Smilemomma, sorry for my bad manners

Hi Smilemomma, six months ago I discovered these boards (after two years as a Mothering subscriber) in a crisis about my 18 mo old's teeth and the decay on the top four teeth. You helped tremendously ! both with information and support to calm my nerves. I nver got back on to report to you the progress and thank you properly for your help and all your work. So here I am. thank you. I'm sorry it took so long. I'm still baffled about how this could have possibly happened to baby who had been having his teeth brushed since before they errupted, has a mother with no cavities at 32, and has never even been introduced to the types of foods that could cause cavities. Seems to all point to the nighttime nursing. So far the report is quite good. We have been following a protocol for 6 months of using perscription flouride gel at night and the teeth are now hard (including a hole cuased by the decy right in the gumline of one front tooth). I brush the poor boy's teeth like a fanatic after every thing he eats. I squirt a tsp size dropper full of water and rub a bit with a wet washcloth right after the last nursing that puts him to sleep (can't wake up enough during the night to roll over and do it after each nursing during the night.) The dentist wants to see him every three months and we are trying to keep em hard and avoid procedures as long as possible. The teeth are stained a bit brown (from the decay) and now little white milky spots (I'm told from the flouride) but the teeth are hard. I'm concerned about the use of flouride and the whole flourosis thing, I chose to take the risk to try and avoid drilling a filling at this age. Thanks again smilemomma for your help, support, information, and hard work. Peace and blessings to you and yours.
post #5 of 104

15 month old with cavities!

My ds (15 mos) has some pitting and discoloration on his front (4) teeth near gumline. We just went to the dentist (first time) and she says cavities. We do brush twice a day and she gave topical flouride to apply as well. She says two options for fillings: strap him down or put him to sleep. Neither sounds very appealing to me. She also recommended cutting down on the breastfeeding, especially at night. Can't imagine how I am to get him to cut down as my "plan" (if you can use that word with a toddler) is to let him decide. He still nurses heavily - day and night - and appears nowhere near deciding to cut down. Do I have the fillings done? Do I try to quit the night nursing? Wonder if there are others who have had these issues.

After posting this, I found and read the last (or first) post on this board and it addresses most of my concerns. I'll have to be more thorough next time before posting. Any additional input is welcome, though.
post #6 of 104
Chunkobaby, you just made my day!! Thank you so, so much for your post. Of course I remember you and your little one. I'm so glad things are healthier now! Hurray for hard teeth!

Thank you so much for coming back to let me know how you all are doing. It just blows me away that you would remember me, and take the time to post like that. Thank you!

I really think you are doing the right thing! It's a lot of work, but it will all be worth it. After a few good checkups, you can lighten up a little. Hurray and congratulations again!

Awesome job, momma!
post #7 of 104
Smilemomma, I did find most of the info I needed/wanted in other posts but still have some questions and would love your input. When you get a chance. I am new to the boards, but cant help but notice all the time and energy you contribute. Thank you, thank you. Anyway, I am using topical flouride on ds's teeth now. (At dentist's rec) I am not totally comfortable with it, but am afraid not to use it on the theory that this is a case that calls for it. Maybe. I wonder what your thoughts on it are. Good or bad. I am also wondering about waiting for fillings until we have dental coverage (first of the year) - much harm in that do you think? I appreciate any input you can give. Thank you again.
post #8 of 104
Hi, nicsmom! Thank you for the vote of appreciation; I do spend a lot of energy here and it is sure nice to know it's for a good cause. This board has been so supportive for me, it's nice to be able to give something back.

There is a thread here titled "is it safe to swallow toothpaste" that hopefully will help with both questions. Please let me know if it doesn't quite do it! (and sorry about Nic's teeth! They'll be better soon!)

Hope this helps!
post #9 of 104
i missed a lot of the posts form the earlier dates.

why would the dentist say that the cavities are from nursing?

couldn't you still nurse and just give a small bit of water at the end of the feeding to "clean" out the motuh? or just wipe the teeth and gums with a rag after you feed?

is that correct? does nursing cause cavities? i have never heard of such a thing?

can someone please let me know about this. is formula any better or worse? what about milk? ack!
post #10 of 104

preventing "bottle mouth" in 1-yr-old

Hi --

My son has just turned one, and is still an avid nurser before naptime and before bedtime. During the day he pretty much is happy with food and water/juice. I'm not ready to wean him of nursing before going to sleep (nor do I think he's ready). However, I am worried about "bottle mouth" - I don't want his beautiful teeth to rot!

So I was wondering if any of you have suggestions of how to keep "bottle mouth" at bay while still allowing my baby the comfort of nursing himself to sleep. He is very good about letting us brush his teeth, I just worry about him sleeping with a mouth full of milk.

Glad to see the message boards back!!!

- S.
post #11 of 104
I have never seen bottle caries from breastfed babies. I've been in practice for 11 years. It may haappen but I have not seen it. I have many patients who have nursed their childern until they could discuss the process of weaning.
post #12 of 104
I have a soley breast fed baby and her teeth are bad. While I dont think breastfeeding is the whole cause I think some kids have weak teeth and are dawdler nursers. Thats my baby. She nursed all night long and I guess the milk pooled in her mouth. The dentsit also said her teeth looked wrong when they came in.My post is under poor teeth. Anyways we started using flouride which I only would recommened if it seems like there is a problem or brush with toms of maine they use calcium flouride. and just brush before bed and in the morning. I also started squirting a little tea tree mmixed with water in her mouth after her last nursing.We stopped nighttime nursing but only as a last resort. and that is still an on going battle. okay the babe is crying hope that helps . there are also alot of other good posts on this same subject by smilemomma.....
post #13 of 104

4 year old with cavities! Help!

My 4 yr dd has two cavities that I can see on her very back bottom molors. I am sick about this, her teeth get brushed regularly. But she has a dairy allergy so she gets very little calcium from there. I have discovered she loves soymilk! So I have been giving her soy with added calcium. My concern right now, is that she has yet to go too the dentist. My dh insurance includes no dental coverage. And I can't afford it right now. Once tax return comes I will have some extra cash. I feel so guilty about leaving this wait, but I don't know what else too do right now. How long can I put this off, and am I doing any permenant damage by waiting. Any advice please!
post #14 of 104
I'm taking this time to finally write about what happened at the two dentists we went to. Well the first who we had seen before told us to get the work done, but by the ped. dentist we saw. The second told us to hold off as long as possible and maybe not have it done at all if we could keep the little cavity buggers away. so conflicting advice.No one suggesed we wean entirely but did say to night wean. the last guy did have some insight into her chipped tooth that makes sense, He said, she could have hit it hard enough that the nerve is dead and that is why it is now turning black.Not that thats any good but it beats the turse reply of " Its breastfeeding!"

we did start to night wean but now that Im sick I just can't make the effort. So my question is and I guess i know the answer is really up to myself in the end.... but about night weaning... Would you ever suggest to a patient to stop night nursing if they had the classic dawdler nurser who tasted breast milk like a fine wine all night long. she still nurses a ton during the day.Her teeth are weak thats been confirmed and since our last check up in august has gotten considerably worse.Okay maybe I'm looking for confirmation that what I amdoing is right, but thats alright,isn't it?
We are also still up in the air about getting the work done? Any advice will be cherished, thank you.
post #15 of 104
It is my understanding that cavities are caused by a bacteria, and that having untreated cavities in the mouth makes it more likely that a child will develop more cavities. She may have more cavities that you can't see.

Talk to the dentist ahead of time about a payment plan. If you are up front and honest, you may be able to work something out so that you can get the work done now. You could also consider getting the work done at a dental college, as it would be far, far less expensive.

Some other ideas....

Use floride toothpaste. (I know some people on this board disagree). We used to use toothpaste without floride and one of my children got 4 cavities and the other got 2. We switched for floride toothpaste and haven't had any cavities since.

Brush several times a day. Ideally, brushing after every meal and snack. We just brush twice a day, after breakfast and before bed time. My dentist said to try and brush as quickly after eating food or drinking juice as possible, as the worse damage is done in the first 20 minutes following the food (or drink).

Limit how often your child can eat or drink anything other than water. One habit that my dentist said was wrecking havoc on my kids teeth was little them sip on juice. They didn't drink that much juice over the day, but they drank if very slowly. Now they can't have anything between meals (and planned snacks) except water. Darn near everything we eat breaks down into sugar once it is in our mouths, so munching, even on healthy foods like fresh fruit and whole wheat bread, is bad for our teeth. Even if a child has just one sip of juice or just one bite of toast, their mouth is cavity heaven for 20 minutes

Hope this helps.
post #16 of 104
I just fell in love with my kids dentist. LOL We were there during equipment failure and we were talking. While they were trying to get it fixed.

He was surprised to find out my 3yr old and 16mth old still nursing he only thought his wife nursed so long . He said a few surprising things.

Bottles are not the problem what is in them that is. He is seeing alot of kids getting bottle mouth from sippy cups, said any cup could cause this but kids are using sippy cups as bottle. Walking around with juice,milk, kool-aid, soda, et all day is going to cause cavities no matter what it comes out of. He is big on water drinking. He said if parents would make their kids sit down and not walk around with bottles/cups then they would have less problems like breastfed babies. LOL Can't walk around with a boob in your mouth.

He also talked about the foods your kids eat. He cussed fruit roll-up/chews. They are sticky and stick to thier teeth. Again he said it would help if the parents would sit the kids down for snacks instead of walking around the house with them (walking around with food is a bad habit easier for them to choke). He said he got on to his brother for the food walking around. Said it takes a kid twice as long to eat food so there is twice the exposer to cavity causing germs (lengthens time teeth are in the perfect decay environment).
post #17 of 104
I just wanted to throw in my experience with my son, whose decay started at the same time as your child's. He also had chipped teeth, which I believe started the decay process. He was an avid night nurser which moved it along further! (My daughter was also an avid night nurser, never had chipped teeth, and never got any decay.)

Our dentist had us wait to do the work until our son was older. He had us use fluoride gel, try to wipe his teeth with gauze after nursing, gently suggested that night weaning might help. He eventually sent us to a pediatric dentist, who advised waiting a little longer. Eventually at 2 1/2 yrs of age, when my son was more able to engage in the games the ped. dentist played with him, we had the work done-- 4 fillings done under nitrous oxide in under 20 min. by a great dentist. No one advised fixing the chips until he was about 4, and then this was done in the reg. dentist office. Now they have been fixed too (he's now 6 1/2).

A couple other tips: around the age of your daughter, night weaning became much easier because I could talk to my son about not nursing "until the sun came up." This was a concept he could buy into and it really helped. Another idea for tooth brushing is that I would ask him if he wanted to do it "the hard way or the easy way." (the hard way being the way you are doing it now!) After a little while he started choosing the easy way (cooperating). i really didn't feel we had much wiggle room to NOT brush, with his decay, so like you we struggled at first, but it did get easier as his cognitive abilities increased. Another thing that worked, because he LOVED the dental hygienist in the office, was to simply say we had to brush his teeth and do the fluoride because "Judy said so." This concrete direction just made the difference, and he did it for Judy the hygienist, not for us!!

HOpe some of this is helpful.
post #18 of 104
hello,
Lukas has had decay since about the time your little one started.
I started brushing his teeth with a little chlorophyll powder on his toothbrush. It is a natural antibacterial and if swallowed has been taken by adults for bad breath. He didnt mind that for awhile. it actually stuck to the places where the plaque was so he could see we needed to brush it away. i think that began to slow the growth down. our dentist doesnt like to do much except watch and since the decal has slowed down, he goes in for a cleaning every three months.
it sure is labor intensive to brush little ones teeth at times. i have tried to say let us change how we brush(he is three and a half now), lets lovingly brush those teeth and clean them well. there are still times i have to ask him which way he would rather brush his teeth, unfun or fun. we play dentist alot.
also, we just purchased an ion toothbrush that is suppose to change the energy of plaque so it doesnt stick to the teeth while brushing. we have noticed (his dad and i), our teeth feel like we just had a cleaning.
and lastly, we sometimes still use wet washclothes to wipe off his teeth and also for him to bite on.
it is really challenging to find an alternative dentist. we are in the seattle area. i too received a mini lecture about breastfeeding but i believe it has more to do with the bacteria count in each individuals mouth. the mother can pass it on as well, my dentist did a micro slide on my saliva and found a high bacteria count.
good luck to you.
kathy
post #19 of 104

way to go dr. power outage

I have been going to the pre-schools in my community and discussing the evils of sippy cups and soda for the past 5 years now. I'm glad to hear someone else out there is spsreading the message. Food 'on the go' is so bad for all of us for so many reasons

As for the mom whose nursing all night long...I'd find another way to provide that all night long comfort. Find a way that's meaningful to both of you that doesn't involve food(milk)
post #20 of 104
I do think spill proof sippy's are worse than the ones that make a mess.

The ones that make a mess/leak parents don't let the kids rome around as much. My sippy's all make a mess. My kids learned to clean up the mess and don't carry them around on the coffee table or kitchen table.

Water mostly.
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