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Thread: nightweaning quickly due to cavities

  1. #1
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    Mar 2006
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    Default nightweaning quickly due to cavities

    Our sweet daughter is 2 and a half and has had two cavities since the age of 1. These cavities
    progressed so rapidly that they resulted in 2 eye teeth being extracted. We just found out that
    she has two more. Our homeopathic doctor feels that she has a genetic tendency to dental caries.
    Our dentist feels that she also has a genetic predisopostion and that the night nursing is helping to create rapid decay. This opinion is held by one other dentist who has examinated her.
    Sadly, we are feeling that we must nightwean her quickly to avoid 2 more teeth being removed. We are concerned about weaning being traumatic because we don't feel there is time to gradually wean
    her as we would have wanted to. Right now, she is used to nursing to sleep (even for naps throughout the day) and all through the night (up to 6 times a night, sometimes more). We would love to hear some ideas, experiences, thoughts on weaning and having to wean suddenly.....etc.

    Veronica & Michael

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: nightweaning quickly due to cavities

    May breastfeeding and dental experts, including Brian Palmer, DDS, have found that there is no proven connection between breastfeeding and dental caries:
    My favorite links on the subject are:

    http://www.brianpalmerdds.com/bfeed_caries.htm
    http://www.naturalchild.com/guest/li...n_palmer3.html
    http://www.hpakids.org/holistic-heal...Cause-Cavities

    The above links, by the way, are not sponsored by LLL.

  3. #3
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    Red face Re: nightweaning quickly due to cavities

    There was an article a few months ago in New Beginnings on this subject. You may want to check it out. I totally believe in the genetic aspect because my siblings and I all have had lots of cavities, etc. Our spouses, some of who have not gone to the dentist regularly, have minimal problems. I am so amazed that you are still night nursing so much. My dd is 2 weeks away from being 3 and I thought I had it bad with her nursing one or two times a night! I would be dead by now if she was nursing all night long! Sorry to say that, but I am truly curious as to how you have managed it!
    On the weaning subject, you may find that if you tell her that you simply cannot nurse anymore because the doctor said it was making her sick, she may accept this. Give her a snack before bed and just plan on both you and dh taking turns comforting her and helping her to go to sleep. My sis was told she had to wean her dd suddenly due to a health scare. She went home and told dd the doctor said so and within a few days all was well and no more nursing. They can be so understanding sometimes especially if you say it is because you are sick or they are sick and the doctor says you have to.
    Good luck to you!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: nightweaning quickly due to cavities

    Honestly, with only a few exceptionally difficult nights (i.e. waking every hour), I usually wake only slightly when she wants to nurse. We co-sleep, so it is not much of a disruption for any of us. It has been all good, in fact. I am so grateful for your responses. I have found that the articles you sent were extremely helpful and eye opening. It sure does make one wonder where the doctors and dentists are getting their imformation after reading those articles. I have printed them out and carry them with me now, so I can really explain these "strange" reasons for continuing to nurse a toddler. I since have decided not to wean totally, but just at night. I cannot bear the thought that "someone" is not right, and if she loses a tooth, I will not forgive myself. As for the idea of telling her she cannot nurse anymore because it is making her sick, I did think to tell her that mama's milk can give her cavities or boo boos on her teeth. I am afraid that will cause a sadness and confusion about nursing. What has been her sole source of comfort and joy for both of us, is suddenly bad for her. Any more thoughts?

    Thank you so much

  5. #5
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    Default Re: nightweaning quickly due to cavities

    Veronica, it is normal to feel guilty about this. If you are considering weaning solely because of the dental caries, it may benefit you to research as much as you can beforehand. I've personally never seen any concrete evidence that human milk and "night nursing" causes dental caries. Evidence has been found that they may help prevent dental caries. Here is the New Beginnings article from this past year: http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBSepOct05p216.html

    I normally won't share much personal info, but I feel like I should say that my son has had work done on his front teeth, when he was about 2. Funny enough, it was just the front teeth and logically, we know that milk (whether it be from the breast or the bottle) generally pools in the back of the mouth, especially when they are sleeping. That really busted the night nursing theory for me because all of our caries were in the front. Not sure if this helps, but it may be a good way to look at it.

    Dr. Palmer (of the link I provided) has a ton of research on this topic.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: nightweaning quickly due to cavities

    I'm really happy to see this thread and to have some additional information and suggestions. We had our 1-year check-up with DS's pediatrician today and boy, was she on a rant about how we MUST stop night-nursing! At present, between teething and all the mental activity associated with starting to walk, DS is waking up 2x per night and wanting only me in order to calm back down to sleep. The first waking (typically 1 or 1:30am) he isn't that interested in nursing but does latch on an suckle a bit, then relaxes and is OK (or, OK enough; max 15 seconds of wimpering with me patting and soothing) with going back into the crib and going back to sleep. The 4:30am awake a different story; full on nurse and then back to a sound sleep. I was rather upset to be told that I must abruptly stop night-nursing because it will destroy his teeth. Glad to know there are more sides to the story...! Any other experience people have on this would be great to hear. thanks so much!
    Jsmom

  7. #7
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    Default Re: nightweaning quickly due to cavities

    Veronica,
    This is so stressful for you, I am sure. I have no personal experience with this subjuct, but I have read much of what has been refered to you, and it reallly is worth looking into.

    I did hear something very interesting this summer at the LLLI Conference. A very famous Pediatrician and Lactation Consultant, Dr. Jack Newman was discussing night nursing and dental caries. He pointed out that each specialty thinks its area is the most important. So of course to your dentist, nursing is not as important as cavities. But you really need to look at the whole child. What would be more traumatic for them. I know having teeth removed is a big deal, but so is weaning IMHO. Good Luck
    Jamelle

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: nightweaning quickly due to cavities

    Veronica, believe me I know how stressful this is!
    My ds (age 3.5) has been dealing with cavities since last summer. We've had some work done and more scheduled next week. He's still nursing.
    I also found lots of good info on Dr. Palmer's site. There was another dentist at the LLL Int'l Conf last summer (whose name escapes me at the moment...). She talked about how the bacteria that cause the cavities (Strep mutans plus some others) need food to grow. Breastmilk by itself won't do it, but breastmilk combined with other food left on the teeth will. So, the biggest recommendation I've heard is to make sure your child's teeth are cleaned really well before bed, then nursing isn't harmful. She also talked about using xylitol frequently during the day. Xylitol is a naturally-occuring sugar that the S. mutans can't use as food to reproduce, so the bacteria are gradually reduced or killed off in the mouth. No bacteria, no cavities. Do some searching on xylitol-- very interesting. It's also used for diabetics because it doesn't affect blood sugar. I encourage you to explore your options and find the combination that feels right for your family. It's not easy, but you are your child's best advocate!
    Dawn

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