Co-sleepers/night nursers---tell me about your LO's teeth! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 03-22-2012, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We just got back from our first appt. with the dentist. It turns out my son (22 months) has two cavities, which the dentist said was due to his night nursing. She basically told me to stop nursing him at night--immediately--or else risk more severe cavities. 

 

I'm wondering if other co-sleeping/night nursing mamas have had similar experience with their little one's teeth. I don't want to quit co-sleeping just because our "mainstream" dentist said I have to. I would be willing to let go of the night nursing (I haven't had an uninterrupted night of sleep in 22 months!) but the attempts we've made have been met with serious resistance by my son (hysterical crying/puking/shaking.) 

 

I guess I'm just looking for a sounding board--are cavities common among co-sleeping families or is my son's dentist full of it?


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#2 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 08:42 AM
 
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i have heard of this before but not experienced it yet (LO is only 4 months). a dental assistant I'm friends with said that if you put LO up on your shoulder and burp him for a minute the milk won't be just sitting in his mouth and it would solve the problem. that kind of takes away from the beauty of co-sleeping and nursing though since you'd have to sit up after he nurses during the night.

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#3 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 02:15 PM
 
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We co-slept and night nursed.

DD has had little cavities, nothing too major. But not till maybe 3 or 4yrs old, and she only nursed till 2. She is 7 now and has had 3-4 "spots" that needed attention.

DS has had no cavities. He nursed till 3. Can't remember how long he night nursed. He is 5 now.

 

I personally don't think night nursing causes cavities.

 

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#4 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 02:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jodie View Post

 

I personally don't think night nursing causes cavities.

 



Me neither.

 

It could just be luck, but despite extended night-nursing (2.5 years for both DS1 and DS2) neither kids have a single cavity. We also have horrid teeth in our family, both my side and DH's side, even though we brush and floss. In our case, maybe nursing actually helped!

 

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#5 of 18 Old 03-23-2012, 02:54 PM
 
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http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/tooth-decay/

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Essentially, a valid link has not been made between nursing (nighttime or otherwise) and cavities.

 

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#6 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 02:01 PM
 
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Not to scare you, but I night-nursed my twins til after age 2 and they BOTH had extensive tooth damage.  I did not know that it would cause problems either, until I found out that one of my girls had to have 6 caps!  The other had 8 cavities at age 3.  I'm sure it was due to their night-nursing.  I am totally an advocate of nursing, but I wish I wouldn't have nursed them all the night.  I basically nursed them back to sleep every time they woke up.  Anyway, if I were you, I would try and nightwean.  In the meantime (it took me awhile), make sure you brush his teeth before you go to bed.  Because it's not the breastmilk that creates the cavities, but the sugar that they are eating during the day, mixing with the breastmilk at night (I didn't brush their teeth at all, basically).

 

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#7 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 02:27 PM
 
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JUST follow one simple rule: DON'T LET THEM FALL ASLEEP AT THE BREAST!

 

Ds had all his front teeth and a couple of molars damaged by 1. He had dental surgery at 18 mo (thankfully they were able to save all his teeth). Since then we continued night nursing (he CLW at 4), we made sure to brush teeth before bedtime. He never had any problems since then.

 

Dd is still night nursing, but I don't let her fall asleep with the boob in her mouth. She has never had any problem.

 

I take them to dental appointments every 6 mo. I'm really paranoid about it now. My dentist also told me to make sure I don't share food or utensils with dk (which I did with ds).

 

HTH


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#8 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 02:51 PM
 
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i have five childre all of whom night nursed. 4 of them have had some issues but not until after they were weaned. my youngest is the only one with 'baby bottle syndrome'. she also has extensive food intolerences and most likely some mineral depletion issues. i am not convinced her issues were caused by nursing, though i am open to the possibility that it may have made a bad situation worse. i still plan to night nurse next time around and will watch for signs. we caught hers in time that she did not lose any but has had lots of work done. 

 

i also believe our water supply is somewhat to blame, as my husband and pretty much everyone he grew up with here have lost all their teeth. we had one kid move here with good teeth and within a few years they had rotted.


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#9 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 03:32 PM
 
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My 10-year-old nursed every hour and a half every night for just over 2 years, and fell asleep at the breast, and has still never had a cavity. Nor has her father- I think it's genetics.

My younger child hasn't had a cavity yet either but always slept well at night.

I think this is more genetics than anything else.
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#10 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 07:56 PM
 
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I agree with pp, it's genetic and overall health issues.

Both my kids nursed to sleep ( naps and bedtimes) and nursed back to sleep throughout the night. Ebf till about 10m. Never any juice. Brushed daily with only water until they could spit out toothpaste, fluoride treatments starting at age 2.

No cavities or teeth issue. Oldest is11yrs. Youngest is 2.

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#11 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 08:13 PM
 
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My DD is 3. Night nursed (ALL night, often for hours) until 2. Perfect teeth (so far, knock wood!) per her dentist. Who is also mainstream, but just assumed she wasn't nursing when she first went around the same age as your little one.

My reasoning on this is this: it makes no sense for nursing at night to cause damage to teeth. Humans have been nursing babies all night long since waaay before dentists. It wouldn't have been good for survivability as a species if that caused horrible damage to teeth. I tend to think it has more to do with other things outside our control. I also noticed with DD that she had lovely breath in the morning until she night-weaned, and then she developed morning breath. Not terrible, but not sweet like it had been  either.

I'm sorry you're dealing with cavities. That stinks with little ones :(  I hope they're an easy fix.

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#12 of 18 Old 03-26-2012, 01:39 AM
 
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I agree with the above poster.

 

My DD is 27 months and she has night nursed for ever. We started to brush her teeth morning and night around 18 months (that's probably late but she didn't eat solids until 10 months and her teeth came in late). She has no cavities and we are still BFing. She even sometimes still falls asleep with the boob in her mouth. If I had tried to take it away from her before she was ready to sleep on her own (and believe me, I tried) she would wake up and scream bloody murder.

 

I think it has to do with genetics and other things, like water and food. I read an article recently that tried to blame it on bad parents who didn't brush their kids teeth enough, but I think we need to think about the fact that it's probably a complex set of factors including the levels of nutrition in our food, the prevalence of processed foods, etc.


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#13 of 18 Old 03-26-2012, 02:23 PM
 
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My son who is now 28 months old was only 13 months when we found out he had 6 cavities. :( We were also told to night wean. After viewing some resources, getting information and failed attempts at night-weaning, I decided that breastmilk was not the issue.  (although I had read that food mixed with breastmilk is bad, so I would brush after each meal or before he nursed) I would brush his teeth before bed, and put flouride on his teeth (dentist's suggestion). Then nurse him through the night as usual. I also used Dental Essentials (www.dentalessentials.com if you want to look it up)

 

It seemed that his teeth only got worse. Nothing was helping. By the time he was 22 months, his top 4 teeth were severely decayed. 2 of them weren't even teeth, they were decayed up into his gums. Horrible I know! We just kept getting told they would be able to fix them when he got older without GA (general anestesia). We were very misinformed.. duh.gif I ended up weaning my boy at 21.5 months (he was only nursing at night) figuring that night weaning was the only thing we didn't try.. :( It was a sad time for me. I loved our nursing relationship.

 

Finally we were referred to a pediatric dentist who was amazing. Although, because his teeth were so badly decayed, and soo close to infection, we had to do GA as soon as possible so that his adult teeth weren't affected. It was horrible. His top 4 teeth had to be pulled, they were so far gone, they couldnt even cap them. And his top 1 yr molars capped. The GA experience alone is enough for another thread.

 

Anyways, I say all this to say, that I wish I would have had all this knowledge that I have now. There are so many natural ways to prevent and even reverse tooth decay. (cell salts, xylitol, etc. Let me know if you want more info) I could have continued breast feeding had I known all this. Another thing that I found out, is that sugar that you eat, goes through your breastmilk. Just like alcohol would. Thats the only example I can think of. I ate a lot of sugary things. I had a definite sweet tooth. I would eat a sugary bowl of cereal every night before bed, and that was the breast milk that my son drank through the night. Wish I would have known that. I agree with PP's that say genetics play a part. Some people have strong enough saliva to kill the bacteria in their mouths without help, and some people have to do lots of things to prevent it.

 

So to end, I think you can definetly continue to breastfeed! Just need to read the right information and resources to get the knowledge to prevent any further damage to your daughter's teeth. There sure is a lot of information out there, especially on MDC. In the dental forum.

 

Your not alone, and good luck with everything! God Bless :)


Mama to 1 handsome boy born Nov 29/2009 and 1 beautiful girl born May 21/2013 and wife to 1 handsome man, married since Jun 9/2007.

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#14 of 18 Old 03-26-2012, 03:54 PM
 
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My son was mostly night-weaned by his second year, but nursed to sleep until he weaned at 22 months.  He's almost 7 and has never had a cavity.

 

My daughter still night nursed often until weaning at age 2, and has no cavities.

 

I also think a lot of it is genetics.  It's more biologically normal for a toddler to night nurse than not.


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#15 of 18 Old 03-27-2012, 07:13 AM
 
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Well it's easy to say my child nursed through the night and never had a cavity, so go ahead and nurse yours it won't make a difference anyways.

OP, I just wanted to share my experience, so you know you can do something about it and continue nursing. In our case, it worked.

 

Nutrition? I know I cook from scratch and we eat healthy, so it wasn't that. Night nursing? I also nursed dd at night, and like many PP didn't have any problems. Genetics? Ds had a mouth full of cavities by 12 mo, and none whatsoever after his dental surgery, and it has been 6 years since then. Same child, same teeth, a little change in our nursing habits.

I'm not talking about falling asleep at the breast *sometimes*. Before his surgery, he spent hours sleeping with the boob in his mouth.

 

OP, hope this helps. I wouldn't stop nursing if I were you, but it can help if you make little changes.


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#16 of 18 Old 03-27-2012, 08:44 AM
 
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As far as I understand, this type of situation has a lot to do with oral bacterial colonization, not night nursing.

 

Quote:
Per Brian Palmer, “Human milk alone does not cause dental caries. Infants exclusively breastfed are not immune to decay due to other factors that impact the infant’s risk for tooth decay. Decay causing bacteria (streptococcus mutans) is transmitted to the infant by way of parents, caregivers, and others” (Palmer 2002).
Quote:
A bacteria (present in plaque) called strep mutans is the cause of tooth decay. These bacteria use food sugars to produce acid – this acid directly causes the decay. Strep mutans thrives in a combination of sugars, low amounts of saliva and a low ph-level in the saliva. A portion of the population (around 20%) is thought to have increased levels of this high acid producing bacteria, putting them at higher risk for developing dental decay. After your baby gets teeth, he can get this bacteria through saliva to saliva contact from mother (or other caregiver) to baby. To help prevent transfer of this bacteria to baby, avoid any saliva to saliva contact such as sharing spoons & cups, wet kisses on the mouth, chewing food for baby, or putting baby’s pacifier in your mouth. 

http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/tooth-decay/

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#17 of 18 Old 03-27-2012, 08:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gitanamama View Post

We just got back from our first appt. with the dentist. It turns out my son (22 months) has two cavities, which the dentist said was due to his night nursing. She basically told me to stop nursing him at night--immediately--or else risk more severe cavities. 

 

I'm wondering if other co-sleeping/night nursing mamas have had similar experience with their little one's teeth. I don't want to quit co-sleeping just because our "mainstream" dentist said I have to. I would be willing to let go of the night nursing (I haven't had an uninterrupted night of sleep in 22 months!) but the attempts we've made have been met with serious resistance by my son (hysterical crying/puking/shaking.) 

 

I guess I'm just looking for a sounding board--are cavities common among co-sleeping families or is my son's dentist full of it?

 

Our family has been through this, too. I have 4 children all of them night nursed and only one of them had issues with his teeth. The dentist blamed night nursing, without even considering the following. At 18 months my child went through a period of hyper sensitivity. He was terrified of any non familiar adults. When someone would say "hi, little guy"  at the grocery store or something he'd freeze up and would start grinding his teeth. For about three months he did this. Right afterword (and not at all before) we noticed the enamel on his teeth had been damaged. Oh, but it was "still, definately from nursing".  It is also very relevent that my child was conceived a week and a half after a miscarriage. So I hadn't even had a cycle between pregnancies. So I may well have been deficient in minerals ect.. when his teeth were forming. I am not going to argue about breast milk, and wether it is harmless for teeth. It seems to me that there is a reason our first set of teeth are replaced in youth. Our experience says breast milk is not to blame, since only one out of my 4 had any issues what so ever.


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#18 of 18 Old 03-27-2012, 08:52 PM
 
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DD night-nursed until she was 3 years old. She has perfect teeth now at 4 and has never had a cavity.

 

I truly don't believe that night nursing can cause cavities. I believe that some people are just born with good teeth and some people are just born with teeth more prone to getting cavities. Obviously, other factors are involved, but I don't believe night nursing can cause it. Otherwise, children's teeth would have been rotting out of their heads for thousands of years.


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