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Mabel asked...

Breast feeding and tooth decay

Tags: dental , teeth

Hi - my 3.5 year old daughter has tooth decay and her enamel is wearing off her teeth. I was told this is due to prolonged on-demend breastfeeding. Her children's specialist dentist canot do anything as she is too young and will not sit still for him to put filling where needed. I brush twice a day with normal adult floride toothpaste and try not to rinse at bedtime. He says her teeth will turn black as an indication the decay is halting - is this true? Shall I get a 2nd opinion?

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The answer

Unfortunately, there are natural sugars in milk and frequent feeding will coat the baby teeth in these sugars. Please do not be deterred- brushing twice daily is strongly recommended and is not always easy to carry out, especially if you have a child unwilling to co-operate. Unless recommended by your dentist, it may be worth swapping to a child’s toothpaste to decrease the risk of swallowing high levels of fluoride, which studies show can cause health issues. Dentists recommend children’s toothpaste until the age of 6- this is because children often swallow their toothpaste, but from 6 years children are more able to spit out excess toothpaste.

A second opinion is always worth investigating to look at other options. An NHS referral may be available to a paediatric department where sedation may be available to treated the affected teeth. Stabilised tooth decay does naturally darken over time, but where possible, treating tooth decay is preferable to minimise tooth ache, infection and damage to the adult teeth that are forming in the jaw bone.’

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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