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Thread: BF and tooth decay?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    9

    Default BF and tooth decay?

    MY DD is 22 mo and seems to have some cavities or tartar on her top four front teeth and may have a cavity in one of her back teeth. Although I brush her teeth lightly 2 -3 times/day, I'm wondering if this problem is due to nighttime bfing and if so, any advice on what to do, other than the obvious advice to take her to a pediatric dentist. I'm concerned about a dental visit at her young age and how scary it will be for her, but if her teeth are being impacted by the bfing and I do take her to a dentist, I want to be armed with alternatives to weaning her. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    29

    Default Re: BF and tooth decay?

    Hello. I hust found out my DD 20 mos also has three cavities. She always has nursed through the night. Although literature seems to say that breastmilk is NOT a culprit, it certainly is when allowed to mix with sugar and food left on the teeth. SO the first think to do would be very good thorough brushing and mouth wiping/rinsing after nursings and eating (At least during the day) Also, no matter what kind of feeding patterns your child has, some kids are just more suseptible because of genetics and the fact that they may have more virulent bacteria in their mouths. I have read some good research on Xylitol - safe for infants and toddlers - it seems to stop and sometimes reverse tooth decay. There are xylitol mouth wipes, toothpastes, gum and even candies. You can find a lot of info on it doing a search online. I plan on trying it, as we really have nothing to lose. This is such a hard situation, and I still beat myself up feeling that my night nursing contributed, but now I realize that there are so many other factors that play into it. (if there didn't - how could so many women nurse toddlers through the night and these kids NEVER get cavities?) Good Luck! If you want any more info on xylitol or anything else let me know -Christina
    Last edited by CMLMOORE; August 5th, 2007 at 02:38 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    29

    Default Re: BF and tooth decay?

    Forgot to mention. After i noticed the spots on dd's teeth I scheduled a pediatric dentist appointment. It wasn't traumatic for her - she just fussed a minute while he looked in her mouth. They are used to kids and can look very quickly if they have to. Fortunately her dentist didn't tell me I was at fault or that I should night wean or even wean. He seemed up to date on recent literature on the subject. He DID recommend more frequent brushings and to try to cut down on the "2 minute nursings" throughout the day to give her teeth a break. You may want to print out some of the literature on this website and bring it with you just in case. -Christina

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    9

    Default Re: BF and tooth decay?

    Thank you very much Christina-It's good to know you have experienced the same thing as I only know 3 other bfing mothers andthey have not experienced this with their children.

    Kimberly

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    515

    Default Re: BF and tooth decay?

    I've read that there is a huge genetic component to the strength of enamel, so some of the decay may be inevitable.

    Oh, and xylitol is not only good for cavities, it regulates the yeast in your body and prevents thrush! I use it in place of sugar in everything.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: BF and tooth decay?

    I have always been concerned with this!

    My son is 32 months old. He only nurses now like once a week, but he nursed himself to sleep for the first 2.5 years of his life.

    I don't even know what cavaties look like, but most people see them b/f they take their children. I have been studying his teeth and I have seen one tiny hole on his pointy tooth. The molars seem fine. I would take him to the dentist, but I didn't get him dental insurance this year, so I will have to wait until Jan (when he will be about 38 months). I hope that is ok, unless his regular ped can have a look . . ..

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,551

    Default Re: BF and tooth decay?

    Hi Kimntanya & lisa1124,
    Here is a link to several articles about dental issues from LLL:
    http://www.llli.org/NB/NBdental.html
    And this is an article from LEAVEN, LLL's magazine for Leaders:
    http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/L...yJun06p27.html
    This one is quite recent. It talks about how dental caries happen, what are the consequences, how to recognize them and how to prevent them.
    Here's more info from kellymom (not an LLL site) with further links at the bottom:
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/tooth-decay.html
    There is a lot of information out there. It might be reassuring to read up a bit before a visit to the dentist. You might consider asking around to find a dental health care provider near you that is child-friendly.
    HTH!
    Mary

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Durham, NC
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    723

    Default Re: BF and tooth decay?

    Hi! Your ped. dentist visit should go well and your lo should be almost at an age where they may be able to put a sealer on the cavities (if they are cavaties). Here's my story:

    My son is nearly 14 months. His first teeth came at about 4 months. He has two cavities behind his top front teeth... he's been a reverse cycler since about 9 weeks or so. We only went to see a dentist b/c he had chipped his tooth... Honestly before we found out he had cavities we weren't doing a great job of brushing his teeth. We thought it was more of an introduce the concept thing instead of actual "work to be done". I think that was more of a factor for us (not brushing) than the night nursing. We've gone to two pediatric dentists. The first one was a jerk... rude, impatient, seemed forceful, my lo cried huge tears. He said this was "baby bottle mouth" and do I put him to sleep with a bottle? Then when I told him I was nursing him to sleep he was like "does he stay attached all night long?" He doesn't. But I didn't mention he also nurses at least 5 times in the night... Anyway we went to another ped. dentist, SHE was much nicer and very pro bf while she said a lot of the same clinical things as the jerk she was much more gentle about them. Basically we have to try to hold off until he is 2 or later as he could be more cooperative and she would have more options for sedating him. Right now our only option to fix the cavities would be to put him under in the OR (no thanks), or she said she could try to fix them in the chair but didn't recommend it as a squiggly baby and sharp dental tools don't mix. She said when he is 2 he may be a candidate for oral sedation (if his tonsils aren't enlarged) and then she could fix the cavities by placing a sealer on them. Until then we are brushing a lot during the day then before bed. with the tiniest amount of floride toothpaste (if it foams in the mouth it is too much, use just a dot like 1/4 of a pea). She suggested considering altering our bedtime routine to bf, brush, book, bed. (Currently bf and brush are switched). She said what happens is that the bm surrounds the teeth and forms a matrix, this matrix can attract bacteria which then if not brushed off can contribute to decay. I figure the bf is not really the problem... it is that we're not brushing afterwards. I'm planning to check out the xylitol too but she didn't mention it.

    Oh in regards to brushing, she said the up and down brushing is essential to do (not just side to side). I figure it can't hurt. Oh, they also put floride on his teeth when we went to the dentists - this may help to delay fixing it.

    Let us know what happens...

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