I emailed a trusted AP Professional and this is what she wrote back:
It seems that so few health proffessionals understand the importance of nursing, the role it plays in a child's developing sense of confidence, or how it does *not* cause tooth decay.
As I'm sure you know, the mechanics of breastfeeding prevent the milk from passively pooling behind the teeth the way bottle milk would. Because the nipple is so far back in the baby's throat, and because milk doesn't flow unless the baby is actively latched on and sucking, the whole "bottle mouth" syndrome simply does not occur. As I am sure you also know, breast milk is completely sterile for teeth, and does not contain cavity-causing bacteria. Other foods do. And grown-up saliva does. And both of these can indeed cause tooth decay.
My understanding is that your diet while pregnant greatly impacts the formation of the baby's tooth buds, and can affect how strong or weak the teeth are forevermore. I believe that this has more to do with the teeth's eventual susceptibility to decay than anything else (other than breastfeeding versus bottle feeding, of course).
Here are a few articles about breastfeeding & tooth decay:http://breastfeed.com/resources/articles/sweettooth.htmhttp://www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/tooth-decay.htmlhttp://parenting.ivillage.com/baby/b...,,3x5h,00.htmlhttp://playingitbyear.homeschooljour...-and-toddlers/http://www.thatsfit.com/2007/10/03/b...decay-in-kids/http://www.personalmd.com/news/n0127071811.shtml
I, myself, have been hunting for a dentist for my children that understands breastfeeding. I have, for now, settled for one who is tolerant of breastfeeding and shares office space with a naturopath, but he still knows nothing about the centrality of breastfeeding for a child's overall health, and he still does not understand the enormous differences between bottle and breastfeeding on a baby's dental health.
You might want to consider either educationg your naturapath, or finding a new one. We have been quite happy with ours at Balance Health on Commercial Dr, but I have no idea what she would say about something like this. I have heard good things about Bloom Clinic. There are many, many naturopaths in town. Perhaps La Leche League could recommend a good one. In fact, perhaps they could recommend a good dentist too.
I think you are on the right track trying to heal his whole system rather than just the symptoms, but restricting nursing is never conducive to better health. Cayden is not even 2 yet--he still gets a lot of security and peace from nursing, as well as optimal nutrition and immunities. I think you should trust your instincts, and seek out a health professional who will support Cayden's entire being without sacrificing his needs for night-time comfort and nourishment to the need for healing his gut and teeth. It does not seem reasonable that healing the body should involve sacrificing such a strong source of spiritual, emotional, and physical health.