Causes of Decay and Prevention - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 104 Old 05-15-2002, 02:26 AM
 
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Thanks Campo Mama for all of the great info. I really appreciate your approach with alternative healing modalities. We really like to be pro-active and as natural as possible with healing. Thank you thank you thank you! I will be trying a lot of what you suggested.

And as far as an electric toothbrush- no luck with that either. He hates anything motorized, let alone putting it in his mouth.

I haven't gotten a dentist selected yet. Still working up the courage to make some calls.

I appreciate any and all info. I do hope smilemama may have some time to offer some info. I would really like some info from a dentist's perspective. Thanks again mamas so much. You have no idea how grateful I am for all of your help. I don't know what I would do without this resource!
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#62 of 104 Old 05-15-2002, 05:03 AM
 
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You will get through this!!!

We are right along with you in the same boat.chipped teeth and State insurance. It had almost been a year since we first noticed the decay. It took us from august till february to finally see the dentist her insurance would take. One dentist for one whole county only working on mondays.We actually paid for a dentist visit with one place. then I started calling other dentists and alot would see us for free for a second opinion. They were and are still traumatic for our dd.

Our dd was very stubborn about the whole toothbrushing and I thought eventually she would give in. MOnths past and it just got worse. I felt awful and would cry over holding her down. My psychology teacher gave me some good advice on shaping her behavior to get her to like toothbrushing. It semi helped but I didn't stick with it. But what you do is start small and reward and praise for maybe just holding the toothbrush. and ever so slowly work up to you holding the toothbrush too. maybe by just having the hand on his shoulder. we also used a timer and I would set it for one minute and when it dinged we were done. She loved this most of the time.Then I lengthened the time.

But you know what worked the best... time it self. Now in the morning (most but not all yet) she opens her mouth and lets me brush, but she needs control over it. She tells me to brush then she does alittle then back to me then maybe dad does it. Finallly at two she has decided to cooperate! So hang in there, and remember you are doing the best that you can. Good luck with your dentist search.
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#63 of 104 Old 05-15-2002, 06:02 PM
 
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This was offered as an idea to combat night nursing cavities in a post awhile back.
It was an idea that another mother came up with- so there is no right way or wrong way to go about it.
I used this method bec. the usual whiping down the mouth with a soft cloth after a night nursing just woke my child up to nurse more! I assume the cloth method work better at getting the germs off, but if you find yourself in the same situation as I did- then, you may want to resort to this. I would also wipe off your childs teeth after they eat while awake. Using the cloth as a wipe down also gets your child familar with you messing with their teeth. An important first step to tooth brushign.
I found no info on tea tree ingestion being a problem- but nothign that said it was OK, too.
It may not be the best cavitity fighter bec. there are several type of bacteria that cause cavities. Again, I found no info on what kind of bacteria it actaully kills in the mouth.
Jasons has a rand of toothpaste with tea tree, and another company has a mouth wash- Dessert Flower or something (at least the desert part is right.)
Anyhow, good luck.
b
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#64 of 104 Old 05-17-2002, 03:29 PM
 
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I'm sorry you're dealing with dental problems. A few months ago we noticed what appeared to be decay on our 2 yr old ds's molar. We took him to a pediatric dentist--who was WONDERFUL, by the way--and it turned out to be a stain. We had started brushing with flouride toothpaste (Tom's of Maine Silly Strawberry) around the time we saw the "decay," and are now brushing 2-3 times daily, no matter what. The dentist said ds's teeth look good and strong, and just to watch the stain and keep brushing. DS hates brushing most of the time. We have to hold him down to get it done--tried every way possible to make it more fun, but nothing worked for more than a day or two. As Smilemamma has said in earlier posts, it's like with diaper changing--a toddler may fight it, but it has to be done for their health. I would rather ds cry for the minute or two his teeth or brushed than be strapped down, sedated, or put under general anaensthesia for a much longer time period--not to mention the cost!. I tell him I'm doing it because I love him and want him to have healthy teeth. I think major dental work done by someone a child barely knows or doesn't know at all is much more traumatic than a few minutes of tooth brushing.
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#65 of 104 Old 05-17-2002, 07:30 PM
 
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Oh my goodness, this sounds so stressful! My little one also would have a very difficult time with the invasive nature of dentistry and we haven't yet visited one. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything's ok in there.

FYI, our LLL leader told me that, though she has followed the same practices with all three of her kids (including night nursing and healthy eating) only the middle one had any dental problems. So it probably isn't anything you are doing but more the unique chemistry of his mouth or whatever.

I don't have any advice about dealing with the dentist situation (though there has been some great advice offered in other posts that I will refer back to myself if we ever have anything similar), but wanted to pass on what has hooked my ds on brushing. He loves, among other things, the car wash, chainsaws, and lawn mowers. So I make up a narrative, for example, the toothbrush is a car going through the car wash and I tell him each step of the process..."the car is on the track, it's moving forward, it's going into the brushes, they're spinning around and around, foam is spraying onto the car...." You get the picture. He loves it, loves it.

So those particular things might not work for your son, but maybe he likes bunnies, for example: "The toothbrush is a little bunny hopping into your mouth, blah, blah, blah...

Of course you may have already tried this! Best of luck to you!
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#66 of 104 Old 05-19-2002, 01:16 AM
 
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Hi...I think if you search the archives here you will find lots of info and other people who have experienced this with their children. What's done is done...I do think genetically some children are predisposed to dental caries. I think a pediatric dentist is a good idea, a great place to start. But you might also search around for a dentist who shares your philosophy. Not all dentists are pro-tooth-sealant, for instance. You must feel terrible for your little one. When I lived overseas, I used to see children with absolutely BLACK teeth, no kidding. There was little or no dentistry where I lived. I am sort of lax on brushing here with my little one...he has a toothbrush and he swishes it around and chews on it, mostly for teething or to copy what we are doing.

I've heard that giving the kid a piece of hard cheese or a cut up apple to eat before bedtime (maybe before brushing) can help somewhat with the bacteria in the mouth and on the teeth that cause the decay. But I don't quite remember the science behind it.

I do know that raisins and things like fig newtons are supposed to be bad for the teeth and are suggested only in limited quantities...I would imagine it's the same for other dried fruits.

Sarah
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#67 of 104 Old 05-19-2002, 01:53 AM
 
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well, I bought ds a toothbrush (electric) shaped like a rocket so that may help!
i just am not sure what happens next ya know? i checked the archives but didn't see much about holes...
i dont know what the options are, especially what NOT to do, that a dr. may try to push on us...
any reccomendations for getting more responses or other places to seek out info..im lost here!
alicia
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#68 of 104 Old 06-18-2002, 04:13 AM
 
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Hi. My son has same issue. We went to two dentists and have decided (insisted) on holding off on treatment, brushing diligently (no flouride) and going in for check-ups every 2-3 months. I will not do dental owrk that requires sedation unless his health is threatened. We are trying to wait until he is able to understand and cooperate. You must get a clear answer on how timely treatment is for health NOT appearance. Just my opinion, especially reading some nightmare posts about sedation/anesthesia.

Good Luck


* It took us a long time to figure out a "hook" for getting our son to brush. I hate to manipulate but this is one you've got to push. Just keep trying to make it fun, imagination works best. Our son is a magician now and brushing his teeth is his most celebrated (and only) trick....
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#69 of 104 Old 06-18-2002, 04:53 AM
 
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Hey worried mamas,

my dd (2.75 years) had the same thing on two front teeth. In themselves, the holes aren't necessarily bad. She had one of the teeth filled because there was decay on the back, the other one has been the same for almost a year now. They probably came in that way.

For details, do a search on my name on this board, and you'll see all the developments including LOTS OF great smilemomma advice and interpretation.

Hope that helps
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#70 of 104 Old 07-16-2002, 01:26 PM
 
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My dd had dental restoration work done yesterday . She is 2 1/2 and was put under general anesthesia to get the work done. Thankfully we didn't need the two pulpetomies originally thought to be needed. We did end up with several fillings and three crowns. The dental surgeon told me that my daughter has soft teeth and that dd needs to be weaned (she's breastfed and is weaning herself - down to twice a day from the 4-5 she was doing) and should drink water (tap is fine but if bottled needs to be flouridated) as a majority of her fluid intake and if she has juice it should be orange juice with calcium (no apple or grape juice).

Someone please tell me what the heck a soft tooth is? Is there anything that can be done to make them hard? Will this soft teeth thing follow her though adult teeth?

TIA
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#71 of 104 Old 07-18-2002, 10:32 PM
 
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When I got this month's issue of Mothering in the mail a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea I'd soon be joining the ranks of all the breastfeeders out there worrying that we have ruined our precious baby's teeth!


At my 16mo's last well-baby check-up, our pediatrician asked about my baby's nighttime nursing. I replied that he is inclined to "nurse the night away", but that my other two children had been the same and I accepted it as normal. She then went on to suggest night weaning to protect his teeth. I have never been one to consider night weaning and, besides, my other kids' teeth are fine( both nursed night and day well into toddlerhood), so I just dismissed her suggestion. While I had heard that "bottle mouth" could indeed happen in babies who'd never been anywhere near a bottle, I still thought that my baby's risk wasn't one to worry too much about.

Well, just a few weeks later, I noticed two small brown spots on DS's teeth. I had also recently noticed small crescent-shaped white patches on his upper front teeth just below the gums. I thought these must be normal variations in the color of the enamel. But 3 days ago I went to my own doctor, and on the bulletin board I saw a poster about "bottle mouth" with photos of baby teeth in various stages of decay. One photo looked EXACTLY like my baby's teeth !!


I got right on my computer and came here and did a search of the dental forums. I found LOTS of info, and I've tried my best to make sense of it all. I've also read the current Mothering mag. Still, this is such a complicated issue, and one that seems to evoke so much emotion, that I felt the need to post to try and clarify my thinking.


I must have phoned 25 dentists before I found one that would both see my son and take our insurance. I finally found one about 45 minutes away, and we are going on Monday. I don't know anything about this dentist, so who knows? But at least I got him in with SOMEONE! Most dentists in our area don't take kids under three. And those who do are often booked up until the fall or even later! I even tried some as much as 3 hours away! Anyway, he's booked in for Monday, thank goodness, but I have a few concerns beforehand:

1. I would like to know what I can do for DS while we are awaiting treatment. I asked one of the dental nurses this on the phone, and her advice was to simply wean him. When I said I didn't feel he was ready, she said, "AT 16 MONTHS!!! You don't see babies with BOTTLES at that age! Just put him on a sippy cup. He'll be okay!" : I have stepped up his brushing. I must admit to not being religious about it before. Oh, the guilt!! Would vitamin/ mineral supplementation be wise? Any recommendations?

2. DS has, unfortunately, had some lead issues over the past few months. We have bought an older home and have done renovations, but despite our taking all proper precautions, his lead level is still "borderline". It is 11, with normal being 10 or below. I know that prenatal exposure to lead has been linked to ECC, but my lead level is zero, so I don't think he was exposed in utero. Have any studies been done linking child lead levels to this condition?

3. I understand that ECC risk is associated with high levels of the bacterium s. mutans, which can be passed from mother to child. I fear that this may be the case here, as both DH and I have untreated decay. We moved to the US from England, having regularly been to the dentist, only to have an American dentist tell us we each had 5+ cavities! We are working our way through them, but I've still got 2 to go. Why didn't I know my cavities could harm my baby? Anyway, assuming we have these "bad bugs", what can we do to help the situation, along with getting the decay treated? What about our kids' mouths? Can we get tested for the bacteria?


4. My hope is to let DS wean himself when he's ready, but if night weaning, or even modifying his night nursing could save his teeth, then I guess I must. He sleeps with me and nuurses as he pleases which, admittedly, can be A LOT. The doc suggested I at least wipe his teeth afer each nursing, but half the time I'm not even fully awake! So this sort of thing would require MAJOR changes for me but, again, I'll do what I must. But, of course, I'd rather not. What do you think?


Well, I've rambled on enough for one session. Forgive me if I'm asking what's been asked before, but my head is fairly spinning.

One thing I can see is that public education on ECC is lacking. I mean, I spend a lot of time and energy researching my children's health, and still, I find I'm seriously uninformed on this important issue. But maybe that's another thread...


Thanks for reading...Willibug

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#72 of 104 Old 07-23-2002, 03:56 PM
 
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I read the recent Mothering article with great interest.
I was especially interested in the information on the transmission of S. mutans from mother to child.
I have never (yet?) had a cavity in 35 years, and neither of my children had any teeth before 1 year of age, so I'm pretty confident that they will 'get lucky' and at least start out with the potential to have 'good' teeth.

On the other hand, my husband has terrible teeth and a mouth full of filled cavities. He believes that these are from a childhood with limitless sweets and sugar and parents who did not promote good dental hygiene. He has not gotten any 'new' cavities since high school or adolescence, so he may be right.

So, finally, my questions are about how transmissible the S. mutans is?
Should I never use his toothbrush?
After 10 years, wouldn't I have 'gotten' this from him already if he did have it?
Is there any truth to the tale that some people have an 'acidic' mouth more susceptible to cavities and others have 'alkaline' mouths more susceptible to tartar?
Would that (mouth ph) affect transmission of S. mutans?
Why is the transmission strictly mother-to-child?
Or is it? Could my husband transmit to my children?
If the S. mutans level fluctuates with pregnancy are there other conditions that can also cause it to do so?
What about adopted children--do they receive this from their mothers, as I would guess, or from their birth mother?
How does that work?

Hmmn. . . better go re-read that article!
Please let me know if anyone knows anything more about this!
Thanks,
Teresa
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#73 of 104 Old 07-23-2002, 04:46 PM
 
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I believe it was a Smithsonian article, but I remember reading that your personal mouth bacteria are very very terratorial once established. It used the example of a french kiss. There are (some) number of colonies transfered and they are all killed by your mouth flora in less than (some small amount of time ~30sec?). It also said that babies get their bacteria from their mothers and that they have almost identical % of different types, showing that there is almost a perfect fidelity in transfer.
I just tried searching for some info on Google, but no luck, lots of info on HIV and foreplay, but nothing on saliva. This was a good link, though, as it has some interesting links on it.
http://www.kellymom.com/tooth-decay.html
Unfortunatly for me, I have cultured my own mouth, and I know that I have some very strong acid-producting bacteria, so I don't take chances and brush a lot. Hopefully all this yap will do you some good, although I don't think I answered a single question of yours!

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#74 of 104 Old 07-25-2002, 08:17 PM
 
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Wow! right back! Thank YOU for all the info.

Now I'm wondering about my pregnancies, because along with being sick-as-a-dog for 6 months (I'm a bit of a dental hygiene nut, so I worried about the stomach acids damaging my teeth!) the other 'symptom' I had was excessive salivation. I carried around a cup or washcloth for that same time period. Maybe all that saliva actually helped!

So an adoptive child would be colonized by the bacteria of whomever was her caregiver at the time her teeth erupted?

Fascinating. I bet there are other aspects of our health that have similar processes--like the stomach/digestive bacteria, those that inhabit the nose & throat, others we aren't even aware of yet!

Thanks again. Really interesting!
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#75 of 104 Old 07-27-2002, 02:03 AM
 
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Hello all..
SmileMomma~

My 2.5 yr old daughter Katie is developing caries in her front top four teeth. Her big sister Jenny who is 5 now, had the same 4 teeth extracted through surgery under GA when she was 2 yrs 3 months. They have both been totally breastfed, no bottles...we live in the country and the pediatrician prescribed floride for them. In being totally honest, I was not faithful in giving it to Jenny. (just not good about remembering to give it too her, not militant) But we brushed well at least twice a day. They said that Jen could have a certain bacteria in her mouth and she is a night breather (sleeps with mouth open) and this allowed bacteria present to dry on her teeth, and she was an insistant night nurser.
************************************************** *******************
She is doing well(Jen) at 5 now and her teeth spacing is good and her speech shows no signs of problems at all, I was worried, as a bridge was considered and in the end the dentist thought she would be ok with no prob. No new teeth upper yet, but she is loosing her bottom ones like kids should(thank heavens) It was a pricey surgery and though we had insurance, alot of out of pocket cost but she made it out of surgery and has no memory of it at all..just wants to know when she will get new teeth

Sorry for long story...but now that we are looking at history repeating itself, with Katie, and since I would like to avoid the same situation, at least catch the decay in its early stages, (thumbnail line at gumline on top front 4 teeth) and today I noticed a small chip on *her* right eyetooth, do you know if these type of problems can be filled/capped/fixed..anything but pulled..just checking out all the options, and Thanks in Advance for anyones advice... she is still nursing though not as *heavy* a night nurser as her sister was.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated...

Just want to know what all my options might be..and what course of action should be next..currently Katie brushes her teeth with momma 2-3 times a day, after meals, and before bed, flouride .5ml, once a day..I know they say it prob isnt necessary, I just want to be so careful..I am sad this has happended to Katie, after what Jenn went through....hope we come up with a better solution..she doesnt even drink juice, or sugary things..thought we did this right this time...:/

have a great night...

Kristine :
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#76 of 104 Old 07-27-2002, 07:08 PM
 
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Thanks, Smilemomma for responding. I've said it before, but I'll say it again--you are appreciated at MDC!!

Well, I took DS to his dental appointment on Monday, so I thought I'd post an update. The good news is that the dentist was GREAT!! I felt totally comfortable with him, and we quickly developed a good rapport. I was very relieved, as I knew nothing about him before the appointment. But the bad news is that my suspicions were confirmed--DS has ECC. He has 3, and possibly 4, cavities.

This dentist is affiliated with a program called Bright Smiles. In this program, ECC children are admitted to a local hospital for day surgery, where their dental work is carried out under general anesthesia. He will fill the cavities with white fillings, and his guess is that DS will be in the operating room for no more than an hour. A BIG bonus for us is that the state of Vermont will pay any portion of the treatment not covered by our insurance! Hooray!

Anyway, I am awaiting the hospital appointment, which will be sent in the mail. In the meantime, DS has to have a complete physical with our pediatrician. The dentist was AMAZED at the amount of knowledge I had about ECC--I felt SO proud ! He was very sensible, and pro-breastfeeding to boot! However, I have a few more questions for you, Smilemomma, about his recommendations. He would like to do a fluoride treatment on DS' teeth while he is under the GA in the hospital. And afterwards, he would like to have our well water analyzed for fluoride content, and evaluate DS' diet, and then possibly prescribe the very minimum amount of fluoride drops, as his teeth seem to be a bit "vulnerable". And I didn't ask him this, but do you think I should try to cut down on night nursing, or wipe his teeth during the night?

Well, baby needs me, so I've got to go. I SO much appreciate all the info on this board. I would feel so frightened and alone in this otherwise.

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#77 of 104 Old 07-29-2002, 03:04 PM
 
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I don't have the answer to stop your child's decay except to say that calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D, A and C are involved in healthy teeth. I'm sure there are more nutrients required. And, of course, absolutely no refined sugars.

However, lead HAS been linked to tooth decay

(e.g.,. Lanphear/Moss (June, 1999 Journal of the American Medical Association)

Silicofluorides, used by over 90% of U.S. fluoridating communities, induce
children's higher blood-lead levels, according to studies by Masters and
Coplan. Call your water department to find out if your your water is fluoridated with silicofluorides. Even if tap water isn't ingested, fluoride can get absorbed or inhaled via baths and showers.

Additionally, fluoride, itself, slightly above the dosage dentists'
recommend, causes cavities (Burt/Eklund 1999;
www.enn.com/direct/display-release.asp?id=5114 )

It seems that if any parents are concerned that their children will be fluoride-deficient because their dentists or pediatricians convince them this is a problem, they could get their children's urine fluoride measured. When it's higher than it should be, argments should cease.

San Antonio, Texas, unfortunately will fluoridate its water supply soon. But one women had her child's urine fluoride level measured and found it sufficiently high so that her doctor advises no more fluoride. So the city is partially funding a filtering system for only her home.

This is an excerpt from the newspaper article:


"Cheryl Pursely, a San Antonio resident whose five children are on Medicaid
and have a chronic hypersensitivity to fluoride, recently convinced SAWS
officials to install an undersink reverse osmosis system at her house. A
local vendor donated the $1,145 equipment, and SAWS paid the installation fee
of $145.

"The dentists have told me the kids should not be exposed to fluoride," she
said, adding that fluoride urinalyses recently showed that the children are
ingesting up to 1.56 ppm of fluoride daily, simply from dietary intake.

Boggess said Pursely approached SAWS officials a number of times, expressing
concern about her ability to protect her children. The utility made some
calls and found someone willing to donate a system to the family, he said,
adding that neither the utility nor the city has adopted any policies that
would aid low-income people who may suffer ill effects from fluoride."

The whole article is here:

http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.c...768845&xld=180

http://www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscof
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#78 of 104 Old 07-30-2002, 08:52 AM
 
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Here's a medline abstract of a study I didn't mention in my above post:

J Dent Educ 2001 Oct;65(10):1046-53 Related Articles, Books, LinkOut


Exposure to metal ions and susceptibility to dental caries.

Bowen WH.

Center for Oral Biology, University of Rochester, NY 14642, USA. [email protected]

Results from several epidemiologic studies have shown that there are large differences in the prevalence of dental caries from one region to another within the United States as well as in other countries. It has been postulated that the observed differences may be attributed in part at least to exposure to trace elements such as selenium, vanadium, molybdenum, strontium, and lead. Although data from epidemiologic studies usually support this hypothesis, direct evidence is sparse with the possible exception of exposure to lead. Data from several epidemiologic studies and animal-based research support the concept that lead is a caries-promoting element. Lead mimics calcium in several respects and may affect development of teeth and salivary glands, clearly enhancing susceptibility to dental caries. Elevated blood levels are found most commonly in persons residing in inner cities, particularly among the poor. Many states require blood lead level to be monitored in young children. Where feasible, these records should form part of health history and be available to the treating dental practitioner to ensure that extra preventive procedures may be implemented.

PMID: 11699976 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation
http://www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscof
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#79 of 104 Old 07-31-2002, 04:29 PM
 
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We have had the same problems with our night nurser.
No juices, no sugar, and yet a mouthful of cavities.

Here are some ideas.
Tea tree oil wash, a bit after she nurses at night.
Anyhthing that will stimulate saliva at night will help wash the teeth.

Rubbing her teeth with a soft cloth after night nursing

We carry around floride mouth wash- so when we are out, she can at least swish (usually before we get back in the car)

Calcium supplements.

I would also read that last issue of mothering, a very good discussion about cavities and some alternative options.

good luck
b
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#80 of 104 Old 08-03-2002, 05:01 AM
 
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SquirelNutkin~

Thank you so much for the advice! I like the idea for the floride rinse,(but am afraid of her swallowing it...) and would you believe I was out OK and forgot to get it AGAIN!(maybe for the "Big kids(14 and 10): E gads! Also on the calcium supplements..do you mean for Katie or I or both? Can children this age(2.5) get calcium supplements? Or is it reccomended, if so or if anyone has gotten them, where? I am taking a prenate vit to just so I dont get worn down, notice it only had 15% calcium, so upped it to two softgels, at 1200mg, (with vit D for added absorption)or I think it said 115% daily value, reccomended for women..I take C too, but the extra calcium is new. COuld she get enough through the milk she gets from me..I guess its hard to say how much she gets, through me, though I know everyone says, "They will get what they need" Not worried, just curious..YK?


Would the extra calcium help Katies teeth if I was taking it and not her?

Thanks guys you rock, this board is awesome! Hope I can help someone some day!

Huggles right back at cha!
Kristi
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#81 of 104 Old 08-13-2002, 12:54 PM
 
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I have read through the entire dental archives and am feeling enormously better about my own situation. You are exactly the kind of person I have been searching for to talk to; knowledgeable and thoughtful. Thank you.

I understand that you are busy, but I still have some questions, and would really appreciate your take on this. I also haven't gone into this story with anyone IRL yet, so forgive my long-windedness. I will summarize my main questions at the end.

My daughter is now almost 21 months old. She got her teeth very early (~6.5 months), and I rubbed them with gauze occasionally, buying a toothbrush at about 10 months. She played with the toothbrush and I brushed her teeth occasionally, but she _hated_ it. I'd gone through a thing where she could not stand to have her fingernails clipped, and I took it gently, not pushing things, and she eventually became totally fine with it. Because I wanted to encourage good dental hygiene long-term, I adopted a similar model. I'd brush a bit, but when she started to protest, I'd back off.

She hadn't changed her opinion of tooth brushing after she reached a year, and that's when I started to get more serious. Most of the parenting books I have are fairly neutral about brushing up until that point. (They recommend it, but not vociferously.) I would do it on my own, and holding her with one arm while brushing with the other was not very efficient. I used non-flouride, enzyme toothpase, "First Teeth", since she didn't know how to spit yet.

At about 13 months (?), I noticed that her front teeth had some white discoloration near the gumline, which worried me. I asked her pediatrician about it. She (the Dr.) was unconcerned, saying some kids' teeth just developed that way, but that I could take dd to the dentist if I wanted to. The overall tone was "you worry too much."

I set out to make a dental appointment, which took a while. I noticed a brown spot on her left lateral incisor, and I ratcheted up the intensity. About 6 months ago, we took her to the dentist. He proclaimed the spot a chip, nothing to worry about, that all of the rest of her teeth were fine, and that I was doing all the right things. (Wrestling with her to brush her teeth at night, letting her play with the toothbrush in the morning, toothpaste, etc.)

HUGE relief, celebration, etc. Just a chip! Hooray!

I remained concerned, though, and in addition to brushing her teeth more regularly, I checked them often. I found a tiny brown spot on her right lateral incisor, and decided we had to get a second opinion. This, again, took time, and we went to the new pediatric dentist about a month ago. He said that the two brown spots were indeed cavities, plus 5 more, for a total of 7 cavities.

This was, of course, utterly devastating news. In the scheme of things, not too big of a deal, I keep reminding myself, but sure feels like it.

The dentist was nice and very reassuring, and proclaimed the problems (4 front teeth, three molars) "eminently treatable." One might require a cap (the original uh-oh tooth), but the rest will just be filled with composite, plus sealing the cavity-free back molar.

We have an appointment to have that done in less than a week. Ack. It will be conscious sedation, (Chloryl Hydrate? and v------; dh evidently swooped up the paper I had laying here a bit ago which had the specific terms and took it to work with him to haggle with the insurance company) and nitrous oxide. The dentist says it will take up to 2 hours, but he said the exam would take about 20 minutes, and it was 6 minutes. (x-ray, flouride treatment, everything.) And what's more, dd walked out holding the hand of the assistant, smiling, and showing me the bag of stickers etc that she'd been given. This was a huge relief because I had not expected that I wouldn't be allowed in with her, made a big stink about it, and was told (nicely, but still) that if I wanted to go in with her I'd have to make an appointment with another dentist, which was the last thing I wanted after all of the delays. She did climb up on the lap of the dentist when he was talking to us after her exam, though, which impressed me a lot.

SO -- questions:

1.) How traumatic will this be for dd? Will it be like a bad dream, or more immediate and horrifying?

2.) Are there really other viable options for treatment? It's been such a long, hard road to get to this point, and I'm generally very impressed with this dentist, and there is only one other pediatric dentist in Illinois that our insurance covers, who is very far away and less well-recommended. I'm just loath to go back to square one unless I feel it's necessary. If it's necessary, though, I'll do whatever it takes.

3.) What steps should be taken to ensure healthy teeth from now on? The study you cited about not brushing/ brushing without flouride/ brushing with flouride was very interesting. I don't know what combination of factors contributed to my daughter's tooth decay. We co-sleep, she night nurses (less and less, though), she VERY rarely has juice (like a sip if I'm having some 1 -2 x/week), and I didn't brush her teeth optimally for a long time. Since we found out about the cavities, dh has been helping me (finally!), and we do a thorough brushing every night. I then do solo brushings when she wakes up, and after meals -- about 4 times a day, total.

Evidently dh's family is cavity-prone, and there may be genetic predisposition. My mom says that I went to bed with a bottle of whole milk every night, and didn't have a toothbrush in my mouth until I was three, and no cavities. (!) Best as I can tell, dd has a genetic predisposition which was exacerbated by inadequate brushing. Will adequate brushing, no juice, limited sweets, etc., be enough to keep her teeth healthy? What do you think about the recommendations in the current issue of "Mothering" (which brought me to these boards)?

THANKS so much.
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#82 of 104 Old 08-25-2002, 03:52 AM
 
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Thank you, sozobe, for the kind compliments. I can see that you are not only a very devoted and concerned mom, but a well-read one, too. (and no, not just 'cause you read the archives! ) Congratulations to you on trusting your instincts and getting the second opinion; you probably know by now my opinion of most pediatricians' dental skills.

I must say, your well-thought out and articulate post is certainly keeping me on my toes! And to think it's 2 am here!

I think you have found a gem! Her sitting on his lap, her obvious comfort with the staff, that is all just fantastic, and worth more than gold right now, and bodes well for her future in dental care! Only one eyebrow raised about you not being able to go back, but clearly they work very well that way, and your sweet girl was very comfortable with that. Good for her! Lots of children really rise to the occasion and take pride in being "big girls/boys".

If I must interject, it sounds a bit like you are projecting some of your own dental fear onto your daughter here. "More immediate and horrifying" ? A "bad dream" ? Those are not your only options. I think this dentist sounds terrific, and he is obviously doing a great job to ensure that she has only a good experience. Believe it or not, it can be done so that she feels proud to have cooperated in getting rid of that bad old cavity bug, proud of her new, strong white teeth and her role in getting them there. It can be a very positive experience, truly, and it sounds like he is well prepared to make it so for her. Only address it in a positive light, and that is all you need do to make this a good thing for her, and for you.

I can see that you have evaluated the most important thing, the *cause* of the cavities, and have quite thoroughly eliminated them. I would be very surprised if your daughter had any further decay at all.

I thought the Mothering article was quite good, and certainly timely. What recommendations in particular were you considering?

I think that once the decay is eliminated, this will be a distant memory for both you and your daughter. Congratulations!
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#83 of 104 Old 08-25-2002, 03:46 PM
 
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Oh boy! (Trumpets, confetti ) I got an answer! Thanks so much!

I was surprised to see no mention of the papoose board in your response, and then more surprised to see I hadn't mentioned it in my question. : My question was actually a great deal longer at first, (if you can believe that), and underwent some rigorous editing -- I must have edited that out. That was the single aspect I was most worried about, the fact that this dentist uses a papoose board, which I saw in the archives that you were very opposed to. However, he didn't offer an option -- it was papoose board or nothing.

The procedure happened last Monday (8/19), and was a mixed bag. My daughter went willingly with the assistant, the staff was good about giving us updates, but we weren't allowed back. The uh-oh tooth did not require a cap, just a filling. There were no complications.

The first heart-in-throat moment happened when I first saw her afterwards. I was expecting her to be groggy and out of it, but then I saw lots of little red speckles around her eyes and temples. I tried to clean them off, thinking they were some sort of spatters, but they didn't come off -- the dentist said she had burst some blood vessels while struggling at the beginning, in the papoose board. That was an absolutely horrible moment.

However, I have spoken to her about what happened a lot since. She seems to have processed it pretty well. Her story (which she has told several times) is that a lady came and picked her up, and brushed her teeth, and she liked the lady, and then the lady put her down (here her expression becomes more grave) and put a hat on her (the head restraint part of the papoose board) and she (dd) cried and cried, and then Mama picked her up. Putting that together with what the dentist said, I think she was given the sedation shortly after she was put in the papoose board, and then doesn't remember anything until I was holding her. The dentist said that the struggling part was very short.

Still.

The second bad part is that the dentist says there were already some (more?) white lesions on her front teeth. I have started with flouride, and am brushing her teeth after absolutely every meal, with the notable exception of nursing her to sleep/ naps. I have opened a thread on the extended breastfeeding board for advice on how to nightwean dd. I hope to keep nursing her when I can brush her teeth afterwards, but when I try to clean her teeth after nursing her to sleep, she wakes up. We have a follow-up appointment this Wednesday, so I will ask more about the white lesions/ progress/ lack thereof then. I had so been looking forward to a clean slate.

The last bad part is that my daughter has been less secure since the whole experience. Two days ago, I had a monthly meeting that I go to, and my dh came home early to watch dd; he came home before her nap, I got her down, then I left. That's the usual routine, due to the time of day of the meeting. But when she woke up, she was absolutely hysterical. Dh had a hard time reaching me, and she stayed hysterical for half an hour before falling asleep from exhaustion. Heartbreaking.

The main question I had about the Mothering article was the emphasis on diet rather than use of flouride. The epilogue states that the author has been using a nonflouride toothpaste, herbal preparation of white oak bark, daily supplement of Cacarea phos., rinsing with Natural Dentist's Herbal Mouthwash for Kids, avoiding sugary foods, and loading up on foods rich in Vitamin D. Do you think all of that is necessary? Some of it? If so, which parts? I don't know if that entire regimen is realistic for us, so I want to identify the most crucial aspects.

Anyway, I'm happy that the worst of it seems to be over, and I will continue to do everything in my power to keep the cavities from recurring.

Thanks again.
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#84 of 104 Old 08-26-2002, 09:01 PM
 
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My 15 mo dd had her first visit with her dentist today and he was amazing! I was soooo nervous and scared that he was going to tell me to stop nursing her because she has a small cavity and lots of white marks on her front teeth. He was awesome and gave me so much info (alsmost as much as I've read in the dental archives .

So here is his plan, Smilemomma I was hoping you could add your .02 cents here:
1. try to cut back on the night nursing to 2-3x's per night.
2. 0.12 % Chlorhexidine Gel 2X's per day for two weeks
3. After Chlorhexidine Gel is finished start Prevident 1x per day for 3 months and avoid all other forms of flouride (ie water, toothpaste) and only brushing with water the second brushing of the day.

We go back in two months for a follow up and to "dig out the little spot" on her tooth and he said he could fill it with something that will fall out eventually and that may be okay until she gets her adult teeth.

I got such a great vibe from him and he was extremely gently and patient with dd. We used Roman Chamomile (sp?) right before we went in along with four drops of RR for me the combination seemed to work really well. Dr. Gary asked if she was always this laid back, there were no tears and she blew him a kiss when we left. I take that as a good sign.

So, Smilemomma, what do you think of this plan? I haven't taken the scripts to the pharmacist yet because I wanted to bounce this off of you first.

Thanks in advance and I'm sorry this is so long.

Kaight

Edited to add: found info in the archives re: Prevident, so now I'm just wondering about the Chlorhexidine Gel.
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#85 of 104 Old 09-01-2002, 12:45 AM
 
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Oh, Kristi, I'm looking forward to the updates!

Don't they just make you speechless sometimes? It's amazing how something so simple turns the corner for them! "I brushin, mama..." that is soooo cute! Give her a big hug from me!

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#86 of 104 Old 09-01-2002, 01:04 AM
 
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Wow, that's so great! Give that cool dentist a hug from me! She blew him a kiss, that is so sweet! And great news for him, too. He must be good.

As for the night nursing, as you probably saw from the archives, I believe that it is not at all necessary to night wean even partially for dental reasons.

I too use a material like that to restore these teeth. It goes in really quickly and easily, it just doesn't last as long as the more permanent stuff. Sometimes it lasts until the tooth is lost naturally, and sometimes we have to replace it. We can either use the same stuff again, or go to the more permanent stuff, depending on the cooperation level of the child. Sometimes just a few months makes all the difference.

Isn't it amazing how well the oils can work? I love, love, love the Roman Chamomile. Glad it worked out so well for you!

And hurray for this dentist. Between you and him, you are making this as easy as possible on your daughter, which will not only get her healthy now, but will help her actually enjoy the dentist throughout her lifetime. What a precious gift! Kudos to you, mama!
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#87 of 104 Old 09-01-2002, 02:25 PM
 
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Hi there,

Thanks again for your thorough reply. I know there's a lot of us rapping on your window and pressing our noses up against it and waving and saying "Hello!!!" when you've got plenty to deal with as it is.

The central equation with the papoose board was accept it and go forward, or reject it and go back to square one. It had already been such a delay-ridden trip, and such a quickly-progressing case, and what evidence we had gathered indicated that nobody our insurance covers in Illinois would do it without the papoose board. I was virulently against it (I, ahem, am also a mother), but I was dead set against having to stay in the waiting room when dd was initially checked out, too, and she was just fine with that. My question (and may have been Freudian that I edited it out, since I was very concerned about the answer) was whether the undoubtedly disturbing aspects of the papoose board were bad enough to delay treatment by several more months, or pay the full fee ourselves (which we absolutely can't afford), etc.

Dd went back for a check-up last week, just to make sure that the fillings are fine and to have a non-equipment visit. She was utterly unperturbed in the waiting room, playing with other kids and toys and having a nice time. When we took her back to see the dentist (his consultation room, not a "real" exam room), she was fine until we laid her on my lap for him to check out her teeth -- she didn't like that, but wasn't hysterical or anything. Just complainy. He was done quickly, and she recovered immediately, and waved bye-bye and smiled.

As for breastfeeding, no, I haven't begun weaning yet. I felt that was the last thing she needed as things have been stressful lately. I also like to think about things thoroughly before beginning any project of this type, so I can be consistent and confident in whatever road I've chosen. I haven't completely decided about nightweaning yet. I definitely don't want to wean her entirely, no matter what. Nursing when I can brush her teeth afterwards is not an issue at all. But even you say, "and taking away the bacteria's food supply (lightening up on the night nursing)..." I am going to great lengths to do everything to keep the white lesions she has from advancing, and it just seems odd to me to have such a glaring exception. She sleeps about 12 hours a day, and nurses to sleep all the time, and 2-3 times overnight. So that is half the day that I'm brushing her teeth as soon as a non-water particle has been ingested, and half the day that bacteria-food is happily hanging around? That just doesn't seem like a good idea.

The tea tree oil thing is interesting, but I'm not sure how it would work for night time. I might try it for naps and go from there.

She has also just started indicating that she wants to sleep in her own bed, so that is something I'm going with and might lead to nightweaning. She has really wanted to sleep on the floor lately, so I went and got the mattress out of her (never-used) crib and put that on the floor. She loves it!! Took her nap there yesterday, and we (ouch) slept there last night. I'm not at the point where I want to leave her there by herself yet, but I can see that happening.

Thanks again.
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#88 of 104 Old 09-01-2002, 03:05 PM
 
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Thank you so much, Smilemomma. You ROCK!! Your reply was reaffirming and personal and I just can't tell you how much I value your input here.

I'm glad to know that you think his plan is a good one, I'll fill the scripts on Tues. I would be interested to learn more about your essential oil solution, but only if or when you have time. Is there anything about it in the archives?

Thanks again, for making this mama feel at ease and for empowering me before we even made it to the dentist.
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#89 of 104 Old 09-05-2002, 12:42 AM
 
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i am so upset and worried because i was just told by a ped.dentist that my son has at least 3 cavities(1 pretty bad) all in his upper and lower molars! 4 months ago my husband took him to his dentist for a check up and the dentist recommended sealants due to deep pits/fissures....son refused to go back there(not very kid friendly) and when we took him to a great pediatric dentist yesterday...they saw all of those cavities!i never thought a 4 year old could could have such bad teeth! of course now i am feeling guilty because.....i shouldve brought him to a dentist last year...i should have brushed his teeth 2x's daily religiously...maybe i shouldve given him flouride vitamins.... or used flouridated toothpaste...i should have noticed the cavity...i dont know...(he breastfed for 3 years...not a candy eater or juice drinker)i am just so worried now on how or if they can be filled? what if they are worse....i cringe at the thought of torturing him with alot of dental work......my poor 4 year old! we took xrays and have to go back in 2 weeks to discuss our options...right now i am just feeling so extremely worried about the future...is he just prone to cavities? will his secondary teeth be poor as well? he has a secondary molar coming in the back sorta behind his present molar...maybe then he'll lose that decayed molar? i dont know how long that takes....for a tooth to come out.....i am just worrying sooo much...especially since my son was so proud that he got his teeth checked by the 'cool' dentist...i dont know how i will be able to tell him his shiny clean teeth has holes in them and need to be fixed? ugh! plus now i also worry for my lil 17 month old...i dont know what a cavity looks like? when should she get a checkup? and how fast can a cavity form? should i give a flouride vitamin? i am sorry for going on and on.....as you all can see i am a big worry wart!......i guess any advice or thoughts would help me feel not so all alone on this.....thanks so very much!..patti
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#90 of 104 Old 09-13-2002, 11:13 PM
 
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I know exactly how you feel when my oldest dd was 4 I noticed 2 spots that looked like cavities. We took her to our dentist, who is really great btw, and after the x-ray he showed us how 6 of her molars were actually decaying under the gumline in the roots. He sent us to a ped dentist she ended up having 6 pulpotomies and all 8 of her molars were capped. She never complained of her teeth hurting before or after the procedure. Her saliva was cultured and came back positive for bacteria which was the most likely reason for the decay. Best wishes to you and your son!

Sarah
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