Join Date: May 2004
Location: 2 blocks from a big airport
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I've been lurking on this thread for awhile because my dd is 11 months, she has 8 teeth now, and despite that my pediatrician isn't that worried about her dental care and that neither dh or I have ever had cavities in our lives, I am getting paranoid about the whole dental hygiene thing, and have been concerned because her gums are getting a little red looking... it could be just teething, but it's all over her gums, so I am wondering if this is caused by lack of brushing.
At 8 months, I bought her a baby toothbrush and tried brushing a little. To be honest (I sound like a terrible mom, I know) sometimes I would just forget, as she was barely eating any solids at that point and I've heard that breast milk (despite what I've been reading here...) has antibacterial properties, unlike formula, so that as long as they swallow it (which she does), it can actually flush away bacteria despite the sugars in it. That's also why I've been a little lax now about brushing her teeth... she hates being invaded in any way like that, and I do really have to either force my way in, or just make it a game, brush my teeth and let her copy it. She likes that, but obviously, she is mostly just biting the toothbrush hairs, even when she manages to do a few strokes! Even when I do it, it's not a very good job, as she doesn't really let me get in there (and she is getting pre molars now so that's an issue).
I am scared by all Smilemomma's dental hygiene nightmare stories, but grateful for the input!
My question: has anyone else heard about whether breast milk has antibacterial effects on teeth? Does it sort of count as "rinsing" food from the teeth and helping to disinfect them or does it actually contribute to tooth decay?
I have thought of the essential oils thing... just letting her chew on a rag soaked with water and a little thyme oil or something (she loves to chew on wet rags!). Maybe that will be the best solution for now.
I've seen these little Gerber finger tooth brush kits. They look interesting. They have gum massage tips, too. It's like a thimble thing and it's flexible.
However regarding the tooth paste safety issue, in my opinion based on a lot of research and being a worker in the natural health industry, the answer is a big, fat NO!!!! I personally think children should not even have flouridated toothpaste and water, and I think it's a crime that "pediatric" baby drinking water sold now has flouride in it... flouride is the second most toxic mineral in the earth's crust next to arsenic, and much flouride comes from a phosphate compound extracted from chemical fertilizer runoff. I may get into hot water with the dentists here for saying this, and I don't mean to - every parent needs to do their own reseach and make their own choices, but at the VERY least, DON'T give your baby of "swallowing toothpaste" age, flouride toothpaste. Even most dentists I've visited, and dental propaganda materials, advertise that the most important aspect of dental hygiene is good brushing and flossing habits and limiting sugar intake, not flouridated toothpaste. What you eat and drink has tremendous impact on your dental health. Soda for example leaches calcium from the bones and teeth and therefore should be avoided. Also certain foods like cheddar cheese and apples help to clean and fortify the teeth, at least according to things I have read at dentists' offices in the past. Really it's not so much what you put on your teeth that matters but what you put in your body, and what you take OFF your teeth when you clean them. Correct me Smilemomma if I'm wrong.