Dr. told me to wean my 1.5 year old... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 08-02-2011, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone!

 

I have a baby girl who is one and a half.  When I took her to a doctor for a check up, the doctor was really pushy about me weaning her because he was concerned about tooth decay- even though he didn't even look at her teeth.  Has anyone else experienced this?  Also for mothers that have been nursing their babies for a long time, do you have tooth decay problems?  

 

How can I make sure that my babies teeth will be ok when she nurses a lot of the night?  Is this a big problem?

 

Thanks!

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#2 of 13 Old 08-02-2011, 09:34 PM
 
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My kids both nursed to sleep until they were about 2.  My oldest is 6 now, and has never had a cavity.  My youngest is 27 months and her teeth are perfect.

 

I think genetics plays a big part, but in general, the human body is designed to function optimally even with night nursing at 1.5, and that includes dental health.  :)  Next time, if your doctor gives you a hard time, ask him to provide sources for his concerns about nursing and tooth decay.


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#3 of 13 Old 08-02-2011, 09:55 PM
 
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switch doctors. 

i've nursed my daughter for 5 years and the most recent comment i got from the dentist regarding her teeth: "they could be a model for excellent teeth." of course they don't know about the extended nursing. i don't discuss that with health care professionals.

others here can tell you about the specifics, but i believe that nursing doesn't cause tooth decay. it's not in the "ingredients" and moreover milk doesn't "pool" in the mouth with nursing the way it does with bottles and sippy cups.

and just to counter back his concerns about tooth decay -- let's talk tooth and jaw formation. nursing *improves* those very important factors. want to avoid extremely costly braces during the teenage years? better chance of doing that if you keep nursing.

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#4 of 13 Old 08-02-2011, 10:31 PM
 
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Generally speaking, you see tooth decay from giving bottles at night. Baby gets sleepy and lazy about sucking on the bottle, and milk will sit in their mouth. I don't know any breast fed babies that had "baby bottle tooth decay".


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#5 of 13 Old 08-02-2011, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That is exactly what I thought I had read and it's very nice to hear it from someone else!  I am going to switch doctors.  It's amazing to read about all the mothers on here that nurse their babies for so long and inspiring. (:
 

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Originally Posted by ElliesMomma View Post

switch doctors. 

i've nursed my daughter for 5 years and the most recent comment i got from the dentist regarding her teeth: "they could be a model for excellent teeth." of course they don't know about the extended nursing. i don't discuss that with health care professionals.

others here can tell you about the specifics, but i believe that nursing doesn't cause tooth decay. it's not in the "ingredients" and moreover milk doesn't "pool" in the mouth with nursing the way it does with bottles and sippy cups.

and just to counter back his concerns about tooth decay -- let's talk tooth and jaw formation. nursing *improves* those very important factors. want to avoid extremely costly braces during the teenage years? better chance of doing that if you keep nursing.



 

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#6 of 13 Old 08-02-2011, 11:55 PM
 
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plain breastmilk actually protects teeth, though can cause decay when there's also food particles present, so bush her teeth before bed and you'll be fine. 

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#7 of 13 Old 08-03-2011, 03:16 AM
 
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My dentist told me:

 

  • Brush baby's teeth twice a day - once before bed. This removes food particles which help to cause decay.
  • Never share food, cups or lick baby's pacifier (if you use one) clean - that spreads decay causing bacteria.
  • Avoid sticky foods like dried fruit and crackers that cling to the teeth.
  • At night, remove nipple from baby's mouth when s/he falls asleep.
  • Keep breastfeeding.

 

 

 

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#8 of 13 Old 08-16-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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Another option besides switching doctors is to politely educate!

 

My son is 2, and at his 18 month dentist checkup there was some decay in-between his front teeth in about 3 places, not severe yet but will probably have to be filled. Breastfeeding during the night (maybe once or twice a night at that age, depending on teething/travel) was blamed. This particular dentist's website has a lot of misinformation about breastfeeding, including that baby bottle tooth decay "is a pattern of rapid decay often associated with prolonged nursing, bottle-feeding, etc." and to stop on-demand nursing with the appearance of the first tooth (which was 3.5 months for my son...). They were very "nice" about it but did attribute it to breastfeeding at night. Recommended night weaning or wiping/brushing teeth after every night feeding.

 

We did mostly night wean since the decay had already started, and for other personal reasons. However, in the absence of any dental problems, I don't think that breastfeeding at night itself causes cavities. This time around (expecting second child soon) I will be night weaning when we're ready, but doing the following things differently:

 

1. Vitamin D supplements for myself during pregnancy and nursing. I believe I was low during 1st pregnancy and this is known to increase the chances of childhood tooth decay. Vitamin D helps bone/tooth formation and also helps the body fight infections, including the germs that fight tooth decay.

 

2. When solids are started, I will brush baby's teeth very carefully before bed so no food particles are left. We did this somewhat, but next time I will be more vigilant.

 

3. I will start flossing earlier, especially if baby has any teeth touching each other. I didn't know it was possible or necessary to floss a 1 year old (now I use the P-shaped plastic flossers to floss my son's teeth), and the decay happened where the teeth were touching each other. I think food particles go stuck there, and combined with the breastmilk overnight, caused decay. I think that less saliva is produced overnight which is why night-time is of concern more than daytime....not sure.

 

4. Use xylitol and/or fluoride toothpaste, and xylitol candies for the whole family to reduce the amount of bacteria in our mouths. I know you're not supposed to share utensils, glasses, etc. but that just is about impossible to do for us. Sharing happens. I'd rather try to reduce those bad bacteria in all of our mouths.

 

In the 6 months since we discovered the decay, we've used xylitol and fluoride toothpaste and flossed, and the decay has not gotten any bigger. We also night weaned. I know fluoride is risky/questionable which is why we alternate it with the xylitol toothpaste. That's what works for our family.


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#9 of 13 Old 08-20-2011, 06:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayanbutterfly View Post

Hi everyone!

 

I have a baby girl who is one and a half.  When I took her to a doctor for a check up, the doctor was really pushy about me weaning her because he was concerned about tooth decay- even though he didn't even look at her teeth.  Has anyone else experienced this?  Also for mothers that have been nursing their babies for a long time, do you have tooth decay problems?  

 

How can I make sure that my babies teeth will be ok when she nurses a lot of the night?  Is this a big problem?

 

Thanks!



I got this. Blew it off. Nursed at night until Bug was 3. No tooth issues at all.

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#10 of 13 Old 08-21-2011, 07:56 PM
 
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i heard someone else say this happened to her...she told the physician that momma's milk sugars are diff than cow milk sugars and dont lead to decay. also the world health organization urges moms to nurse til two or later. one of my 3 kids had teeth issues bc of too much flouride not bc of nursing, the other two are fine and also were nursed til they chose to wean.

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#11 of 13 Old 09-08-2011, 02:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatioGardener View Post

My dentist told me:

 

  • Brush baby's teeth twice a day - once before bed. This removes food particles which help to cause decay.
  • Never share food, cups or lick baby's pacifier (if you use one) clean - that spreads decay causing bacteria.
  • Avoid sticky foods like dried fruit and crackers that cling to the teeth.
  • At night, remove nipple from baby's mouth when s/he falls asleep.
  • Keep breastfeeding.

 

 

 


Agree with this. Breastmilk in combination with other factors can cause tooth decay. My ds had dental surgery at 18 mo, and we CLW at 4 y/o. After his surgery, I followed the above rules and we had no more issues.

 

I was more careful with dd and she has perfect teeth. She's still breastfed (day and night) and has no intention of stopping soon :)

 


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#12 of 13 Old 09-08-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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I agree with the tips Patiogardener posted as well.

 

My DS is 18 mo and still has periods where he nurses all night (like last night, ugh - more teeth coming.)  He DOES HAVE brown spots on his lateral upper incisors since they came in ~ 12 mo.  I became concerned since my teeth are hard to keep clean, and I have heard the biggest concern is the parent's bacteria spreading to baby w/ a combo of milk puddles in the mouth to feed the bacteria.  I try my best to fall back asleep when he latches at night (since I have been sleep deprived for 2 yrs), so I don't pop him off when he's done.  Instead, I have increased teeth brushing to 3x a day, up from 1x.  It looks like the spots are slowly disappearing.  Last month, my pediatrician confirmed that it was just discoloration (with no explanation) and NOT decay.  She knew about his feeding habits at night, but she wasn't concerned. She just said to keep brushing the teeth!  

 

Hope you keep breastfeeding if you both still enjoy it...and good luck

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#13 of 13 Old 10-06-2011, 09:49 AM
 
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i want to offer some counter balance, while basically agreeing with what is being said. babies can have "bottle teeth" while EBF. i personally have known two babies/children that have had it and one that had all of her front teeth caped because of it. 

and yes it is probably way more about genetics that just because they night nursed. and both moms said that their kids basically slept wit the nipple in their mouths.  even with my 9 month olds i have seen milk pool in their mouths when i nurse them to sleep which i do a lot. i think i would prefer to stop just short if i Can and let them swallow and move their mouths around a bit to clear out their mouths, not sure.

 

i worry about a doctor that blankly says you need to do something, specially without looking at your whole personal picture.

but i also worry a lot about advice that is often given here that "natural" stuff can never be the cause of harm.

 

neither is good, balance and understanding the big picture is

 

the tips that Patiogardener gave seem like a great starting point, then it is about your child's genetics.

for instance do you or the father have a lot of tooth issues? then maybe be on the careful side with your kids. i know a mom that does have a lot of history with tooth decay in her kids that nurses her toddlers a ton but always has a bottle with water in it on her bedside and give a sip or two right as they are falling asleep to rinse out their mouths, it is a creative way to handle it and has worked great for her family.


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