Posts tagged ‘xylitol’

Update: Whiter!

A few days after writing my previous post, we started brushing Lil Guy’s teeth two ways. First, I put a thin layer of Oravive paste on a Safety First finger brush then brush his teeth. I follow up by giving him his own toothbrush to use with Spry Tooth Gel on it. I try to do that at least twice a day, but admit this doesn’t always happen. It does happen at least ONCE.

I also have been giving him cod liver oil. We got the liquid made by Twinlabs. It tastes as you’d expect: fishy (which is ‘ew’ to me), but Lil Guy loves it, so it is never a problem getting him to swallow two spoons of it (by spoon, I mean the baby plastic spoons). The cod liver oil came into use by reading Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. It is also a staple of the Weston Price diet (also known as a ‘traditional diet’), which focuses on healthy fats, pastured meats, fermented grains and raw dairy.

By doing these three things (Oravive, xylitol and cod liver oil), I cannot believe it, but I can report that my son’s teeth are whiter. For two weeks, I was saying “less brown,” but I noticed today that the brown color is nearly gone and now exists only on the top of the teeth rather than continuing on down the center as they once did. There is definitely discoloration, sort of gra, as if he has lint on them, but definitely not brown. I am hoping this is a sign of remineralization.

I cannot report on the hardness of his teeth. I am not about to check. However, I recently learned that if your little one has cavities and a dentist goes in his mouth with a metal pic to test the hardness of his teeth, DO NOT let them do it. This practice can cause more problems by carrying the infection further into the tooth and can also cause the tooth to crumble, thereby also crumbling hopes of remineralization. Two pediatric dentists on the veryyoungkidsteeth Yahoo! group state that this exploration is a dangerous practice. I believe them.

Last week, I found that is now selling MI Paste in two flavors: mint and strawberry. This is the topical paste for remineralization made with cow proteins. I will be purchasing some shortly.

I will post photos of before and after shortly. As I am also writing this on my iPod, I will update shortly with links.

Next up: breastfeeding in public and my thoughts. Here’s an idea of what I think of it:


March 5, 2010 at 10:55 am 1 comment

Links for ‘Dentists & Breastfeeding’

This is “Part Two” to my post Dentists & Breastfeeding:

The following are a few excerpts with links for various web sites, articles, discussion boards, etc., that I came across in my search for more information. This list does not reflect everything I found or came across, but can certainly give other parents or interested parties a launching pad for their own research. Terms I found useful to use were: ‘dental caries,’ ‘ECC,’ ‘strap mutans,’ ‘bottle mouth vs. nursing decay,’ ‘breastfeeding and dental caries,’ ‘dental caries in infants, toddlers,’ etc. was a resource often used in a Yahoo! Group about young kids’ teeth (that link is following). From Is Breastfeeding Linked to Tooth Decay?:

In a study done by Dr. Torney, no correlation was found between early onset (< 2 yrs) dental caries and breastfeeding patterns such as frequent night feeds, feeding to sleep, etc. He is convinced that under normal circumstances, the antibodies in breastmilk counteract the bacteria in the mouth that cause decay. However, if there are small defects in the enamel, the teeth become more vulnerable and the protective effect of breastmilk is not enough to counteract the combined effect of the bacteria and the sugars in the milk. Enamel defects occur when the first teeth are forming in utero. His explanation is based on quite a large study of long-term breastfed children with and without caries.

I found this passage most helpful. As I noted in my previous post, my son’s tooth emerged with a small, brown dot already on it. The dentists I went to see for counsel brushed this information aside and continued to insist the cause was nursing. I believe that the cause is a weakness in his tooth enamel due to my diet immediately prior to and during pregnancy. For two years before I became pregnant, I started smoking cigarettes (I know — who chooses to start smoking at 27 when it was such fun asking “Why are people smoking in this day and age?” It was a dark time for me). I also drank beer quite regularly, the alcohol and hops of which breaks down into sugars. Sugars are not good for teeth, but also not good for the body, which affects your teeth. I was addicted to breads and high-sugar fruits. While pregnant, my favorite phrase was “taco-bell-butterfinger-blizzard.” (It’s true.)

I also found that this article, Myth: Breastfeeding and Dental Caries, validated my decision to continue on-cue breastfeeding as I always have, including at night (emphasis added by me):

FACT: There is no published, valid evidence that establishes long-term, at-will breastfeeding as a risk factor in BBTD. Limitation of the duration of breastfeeding has documented negative consequences to the baby and mother. “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay” is a disease of artificial feeding.

At Eve’s Best, I found Cavities in Baby Teeth, which was not biased to breastfeeding mothers, but considered the prevention of cavities. In regard to breastfeeding, the site says:

As soon as your baby has teeth, wipe them clean after each meal. While breastmilk actually contains natural cavity fighters, formula does not.

Do not allow your formula fed baby to go to sleep with a bottle, unless you plan on cleaning his teeth with a wipe and tooth gel after he is asleep.

This site was most helpful in providing solutions, what I most needed after two disappointing dentist appointments. I did not want to believe that our only recourse would be surgery, especially at 17 months. It was on this same page that I found out about Xylitol and its bacteria-fighting properties, as well as NovaMin, the active ingredient in Oravive toothpaste. I also learned about the support group and forum veryyoungkidsteeth. The group has been very informative. For kids who know how to spit, there is also MI Paste, which is available through dentist offices without a prescription, if your dentist carries it (it does contain fluoride); however, MI Paste is milk derived with lactose content less than 0.01%. If you or your child are allergic or have high-sensitivity to casein or lactose, be cautious.

Eve’s Best is full of information and links offering natural approaches to preventing, aiding and some would say even curing, tooth decay.

Which brings me to a very large resource you may have come across yourselves: Cure Tooth Decay, by Ramiel Nagel. This approach focuses on diet, and if you’re into food, you probably heard about the research on which this diet is based: Weston A. Price.

I bought the book and started reading it immediately on my iPod Kindle app. The book itself is a bit pricey for me ($24), so I went with the digital version ($15). However, before you do that, the website is loaded with information. So much so, that I dare say you do not have to buy the book (though sometimes, it is so much nicer to hold a book in your hands to quote, read out loud, or just have for flipping back and forth and around, etc.). The only parts of the program I have seriously adopted thus far is to take cod liver oil every day. My son loves the stuff (so bizarre), and I chase it with water or some peanut butter (I really don’t like fish flavors). I do endeavor to eat only pastured animals and I avoid dairy. But as I have done a lot of other research concerning food, I will delve into that later. (I’m quite excited to start soon actually. My research has gone far and wide from vegan to paleo [caveman diet]).

And a most helpful, science-based and well-supported article providing a good list of resources is Big Bad Cavities: Breastfeeding is Not the Cause. If you don’t read anything else, certainly read this one.

I hope that the above links and information is helpful, and that once you’ve explored those, clicks here and there bring you to more information. Have fun, carry on, and love those babies (if you got ’em).

February 12, 2010 at 12:38 am Leave a comment

Dentists and Breastfeeding

In my opinion — in my humble opinion — pediatric dentists still have a lot to learn about the positive effects of breastfeeding, and must endeavor to find other causes for poor dental health in young children. “Bottle-mouth” is not synonymous with breastfeeding. Here is what I learned:

It seems pediatric dentistry lumps breastfeeding into the same category as bottle-feeding, pacifiers and sippy cups. This categorization ignores and generalizes important criteria. Whereas formula contains processed “foods” and imitation nutrition for babies and toddlers, breastmilk is the product of evolution and the human body, made specifically for the child borne to that mother. Breastmilk has strong bacteria-fighting characteristics that make it perfect for children. It is loaded with antibodies; antibodies that the mother has created throughout her life – as well as loaded with vitamins and minerals. In fact, when one questions how long breastmilk can stay at room temperature, on the door of a fridge, in the freezer, etc., that time frame is determined by the length of time breastmilk is able to fight bacteria.

A fantastic article at, points out — as much of my research has — that breastmilk fights the very same bacteria that causes dental caries. What causes those dental caries seems to be most in question. It appears that pediatric dentists want to blame the breastmilk — and on-cue (on demand) night nursing. At the same time, as this article points out, the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentists) concede that breastmilk fights the very same bacteria. Add to this the suck/swallow action necessary to expel milk from the breast and these dentists have a weak argument. So what is it?

Although the cause of my son’s cavities was not as important a factor to me as stopping his teeth from getting worse, I could not help but feel offended when two different dentists told me it was from nursing. Would my body, meant to not only carry and birth my son, fail him when it came to nourishment? Would the very best food for him — a fact that science continues to prove everyday though mothers have known it for years — truly betray him when his teeth came in? I didn’t think so. Neither did dozens of articles and references to studies that I have encountered through online researching alone. What more would I find if I went to medical libraries and universities?

In talking about this question with a friend, she made a good point. It seems that these dentists, and often times other medical persons in positions of authority, have a difficult time with “I don’t know.” So they guess. Where they fail is that in their guessing, they are making mothers feel guilty for giving their children the very best start to a long life. Breastmilk is vital, nourishing, and undoubtedly the very best food.

After much pain (literally. My stomach and head ached for days after each appointment, but even more so after the second), I decided I would not have my son, at almost 17 months, be put to sleep in an outpatient surgery room and have four caps put on his four front teeth. Not only do I feel uncomfortable because he’s so little and there’s a risk of death with any anesthesia, but the dentists did not bother to 1) explore other reasons for his tooth decay; 2) explain the risks of leaving his teeth as they are; 3) suggest alternative treatments until he was at an age when I would be more comfortable. In short: they couldn’t be bothered. When I left, I felt not only stunned and offended and shut out, but I felt belittled, demeaned, and disrespected. Aren’t I allowed answers? Discussion? Possibilities? Explanations? Or am I to simply hear your verdict of four caps and $2500 and say “Okay, sure, yes, why not?” To make it worse, I asked about the procedure. Not only am I not allowed to be with him when they put him to sleep and put a tube down his throat , but he is not allowed to eat or drink anything, including water and breastmilk, after midnight. When I talked more to myself than to the hygienist and said, “He won’t like that,” she responded: “Close the door and let him cry.”

I was done with the dentist. (I did not mention that we bedshare).

I turned to the internet. Here’s what I found to slow the process of decay and maybe even, dare I say, cure it?

I learned first about a book called Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. I will not link it here yet because I don’t want to give it a straight-up endorsement so much as to just include it in my litany. To sum up, the basis of the book is to change your diet to that of a traditional diet — studied at length and in great detail by Weston A. Price, a dentist of the ’30s who studied various cultures around the world and how their nutrition/diets affected their teeth. What he found was that those peoples who lived off their land, eating animals (including their organs) and unprocessed dairy, oils, grains, etc., had the healthiest mouths. Those who were consuming all or part of a more westernized, processed diet, had obvious signs of decay — if they even still had teeth. (Because I have done a huge amount of research on diet that includes this one, I will not get into details just yet. Please stay tuned for future posts, however, because I really do have a lot to share about all of this). The gist I want to share with you now is this: the mouth needs a good pH balance; that means, it needs a specific ratio of calcium and phosphorous. Of good calcium and phosphorous (a quick Google search can show you how processed, pasteurized milk does not provide this good calcium as it is — what some might call — “cooked away”).

My search then took a turn. I sought other forms, a “quick-fix” form, of this pH balance. That’s when I learned about NovaMin, the brand name for a combination of Calcium Sodium Phosphosilicate. This combination has been shown, according to NovaMin, to remineralize teeth. From various discussion groups, reviews, etc., that I’ve read about the most popular brand of toothpaste to contain NovaMin (from what I’ve found), the results after using it are impressive. People report a complete turnaround; one person, and only one, reported pain when it came in contact with his teeth, but admitted he had severe sensitivity to even cinnamon, and that the pain subsided after more use. I immediately went to Amazon and ordered a 4 oz tube for $9.99.

I then found that the tube I bought (Oravive) contains sodium lauryl sulfate, a useless ingredient that only contaminates the body while tricking my mind into a “ooh, look, it works!” just because it suds up. So I wrote to Oravive, who must be directly associated with NovaMin because the reply was from a NovaMin rep and not an Oravive rep. I asked if they had a version of Oravive without the SLS in the works. They told me to check out Burt’s Bees new line of toothpaste; so I did and it was half the price!

I also learned that Xylitol has powerful bacteria-fighting properties. The sweet sugar-replacement, when one uses low doses (a toxic dose is considered to be 75 grams. That is a LOT of Xylitol), is effective in helping to slow the rate of decay in children. Therefore, I bought the Spry Infant and Toddler Tooth Gel.

My plan is this: brush morning and night with Oravive, and at midday, use the tooth gel.

But wait! I learned about something else. There’s a product I read about on the Yahoo! Group veryyoungkidsteeth (excellent source of information, support, and talk, and has real, live supportive dentists on the list. It is geared toward breastfeeding, attachment parenting women), called MI Paste. Apparently, it is only available from a dentist’s office, but NOT by prescription. Made from casein from cow’s milk, it is a topical solution to be put directly on affected teeth. It sounds like a miracle cure, if you ask me, though I have yet to procure a tube and have no idea of its cost. That doesn’t mean I won’t try, though.

My Amazon order should arrive by the end of this coming week. I will certainly work on dietary changes (what changes I will make is for another post); I will be diligent about cleaning my son’s teeth as well as my own, and I will watch him for signs of pain or infection. Breastfeeding is not to blame for this.

Since the dentists don’t want to hypothesize on other causes, I have a few myself. So without preamble (ha, ha), here’s my humble opinion: considering my son’s tooth came in with a tiny, brown dot on it right away, I surmise that the problems started when he was in the womb. I do not doubt my diet played a role. Furthermore, teeth tend to be very sensitive to problems when you’re pregnant. I already had cavities, but during and after, they became worse. Add to that the role of “new mom” and I was not the most hygienic person for the first 8 months or so. My son, to make it more complicated, put everything in his mouth. If he could reach it, it was in, so I was constantly fishing stuff out with my fingers. When he started drinking water from a Nuby sippy cup at 9 to 10 months old, the one small, brown dot on his tooth took on a life of its own and his other three front teeth were rapidly affected. I believe that there was a combination of pregnancy-diet, putting everything in his mouth, and bacteria from my mouth getting into his, that caused his dental caries. In fact, I think his teeth would be far worse if I weren’t breastfeeding and my milk weren’t fighting and killing bacteria that was already eating his teeth away. (I’m not sure if the tap water contributed, but I can’t ignore the connection, whether or not it is coincidence.)

I’ll let you know how the new plan works out. I’m excited to write more about my nutrition research. It’s leading me to some strange and interesting information. As time permits and goes by, I will be adding more detailed information including links to all the places I’ve visited in each subject. It’ll be a long list, but I’ll try to be orderly and detailed as I go about it. No promises – but we do our best.


February 8, 2010 at 1:44 am 5 comments

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