On Breastfeeding and Dental Care

Baby feeding

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Breastfeeding is a hot topic amongst moms these days. We aren’t going to touch which is best for your baby, breast or bottle, as that is between a mom, her baby, and the baby’s pediatrician. However, we do want to clear up any misnomers that may be out there regarding breastfeeding and oral health.

Many believe that a baby’s new teeth only need to be cleaned and cared for if the baby is bottle fed, as formula is thicker than breastmilk (hence why babies sleep through the night sooner with formula than breastmilk). This is, of course, absolutely not true. Breastmilk still contains some lactic acid, which can erode teeth enamel if not cleaned from the baby’s teeth.

The Canadian Dental Association even offered the following statement this past summer:

The Canadian Dental Association supports breastfeeding as it provides nutritional benefits to the infant and is recognized as an effective preventive health measure.

In the absence of daily oral hygiene care, breastfeeding is one of the many risk factors that may contribute to the development of dental caries. Therefore, it is vital that mouth cleaning or tooth brushing be part of the daily routine for all infants, including those who are breastfed.

CDA Board of Directors – Approved June 2013

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Sesame Street Shows Kids How Long to Brush Their Teeth

You know you’re supposed to brush your teeth for two minutes. You tell your kids the same thing. Unless you keep an egg timer in your kids’ bathroom, chances are they don’t exactly know how long two minutes is. Sesame Street, with the help of Elmo, recently created a little PSA to help kids see exactly how long they need to brush their teeth.

The video can also serve another, just as important purpose. By showing your toddlers this video, you can get them excited about brushing their teeth and mimicking Elmo brushing his. The tune is catchy enough for kids to love, but it may cause an unfortunate side effect in parents–the inability to remove the song from your head.

What Does it Mean if the Baby Teeth Grow in Discolored?

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

When your baby’s teeth grow in, they’re typically white or off-white in color. However, occasionally, baby teeth can grow in discolored. This could happen for several reasons, and most of the time it’s not caused by anything the parent has done or hasn’t done.

Medications

If your baby had to be on medication before teething, there’s a chance the teeth will grow in discolored, especially if the medications contained iron. Taking antibiotics during pregnancy can occasionally cause this as well.

Trauma

Any injury to the gums before teething can cause the teeth to grow in discolored, typically pink or gray.

Newborn Jaundice

Premature babies often have slight jaundice after birth, and this can cause the teeth to grow in looking a little green.

Serious Illness

An infection or serious illness can also discolor baby teeth. Newborn hepatitis and heart disease can also discolor baby teeth.[..Read More]

How to Tell if Your Child has Tooth Decay

Boy brushing his teethBy about 7 or 8, you’ve most likely stopped brushing your child’s teeth for them, so you can’t instantly tell if your child has tooth decay or a cavity. So how can you tell if a cavity is developing? You definitely don’t want to wait until your child comes to you in serious pain with a far more serious problem than tooth decay initially is. Without constantly prying into your child’s mouth, how can you tell if they have early signs of tooth decay?

Moderate to Bad Breath

Your first instinct may be to tell your child to go brush their teeth or rinse out their mouths with a mouthwash. However, if bad breath is constant or even severe, it’s a sign of something far worse than lunch leftovers.

Tooth Sensitivity

If your child complains that eating on one side of their mouths hurts or they suddenly develop a sensitivity to hot and cold food and drink, it could be a sign of tooth decay.

Headaches or Jaw Aches

A headache can easily be written off as potentially something else, and a dull ache in the jaw could be a sign of TMJ. If either seems more painful than a typical headache, it’s time to investigate.

A constant metallic or unpleasant taste in the mouth

If your child complains that something in their mouths always tastes bad, even after brushing their teeth, it’s a possibly symptom of tooth decay.

If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, you need to get him or her to your dentist as soon as possible, especially if your child has more than one sign. Most often, when tooth decay symptoms pop up, the decay has progressed to the point where treatment is needed immediately. The sooner your child is treated, the better chances your dentist will have in making sure the decay stays minor and doesn’t develop to anything far more serious, including potential tooth loss.

How long should I brush and floss my child’s teeth?

Child brushing her teeth

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Your toddler may be able to feed themselves using forks and spoons just fine, but that doesn’t mean they are ready to brush their teeth by themselves just yet. Many parents try to coax their children into brushing their own teeth by age 4, but really, most children aren’t coordinated enough to brush their teeth properly (there’s the kicker) until they are 6 or 7. Some dentists say that children shouldn’t brush their own teeth until they are 10. Before you decide when your child should brush his or her own teeth, talk to your dentist at your child’s first dental check-up, which should be around 3 years of age.

When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?

As soon as your baby sprouts his or her first tooth, it’s time introduce the concept of brushing the tooth and gums. By starting this early, your baby will get used to the routine of brushing, and it won’t be as much of a struggle to brush their teeth in the toddler years. With babies, you can purchase a finger toothbrush or use a soft washcloth wrapped around your finger.[..Read More]