I went to a free post-natal class at my local Children’s Centre which was fantastic because it gave me the ability to meet more moms that live nearby, get out of the house, and learn some stuff about taking care of a baby. One of the classes was about teething and cleaning teeth. During our lesson I was absolutely mouth opened shocked when I found out that 25% of children 11 and under get baby teeth PULLED OUT because they are rotten. I couldn’t even believe it. Of course this is entirely preventable and is related to the parents giving them lots of foods and drinks with sugar compounded by the fact that they most likely don’t brush their teeth regularly as well. My nephew had a few teeth pulled a couple of years ago when he was 10 or 11 for this exact reason – he hates brushing his teeth, his parents don’t fight him to enforce it and his mom has fed him loads of crap food his whole life (candy, chocolate, frozen food, takeaway, potato chips etc) and now he’s 14 and I just found out that the dentist won’t allow him to get braces because his teeth are too unhealthy!
The lightbulb moment for me when I found out 25% or 1 in 4 kids here will get their teeth pulled is when the teacher was explaining about not rinsing your mouth after you brush – you spit out excess but never swirl with water or rinse out the toothpaste completely. Which being American is not something I had ever heard of before and I may not have a cupful of water after I brush but I do rinse my toothbrush off and then use the water from that to get the remaining toothpaste. So why? It’s because we have fluoride added to our water in the US!! Here in the UK there is no fluoride added to the water – and at that moment you suddenly realize how important fluoride actually is to your teeth and it completely explains why England is known for having bad teeth!! I have seen and met soooooo many YOUNGER people here in this country (20’s, 30’s 40’s) who are missing teeth.
So what does this all mean for babies. That you need to take care of their teeth as soon as you see them. Apparently they are the most vulnerable when they are not fully grown. I was just sent this random email about taking care of babies teeth because my baby just turned six months and that’s the time when the majority of babies start getting their teeth.
Brushing baby teeth
You can start cleaning your baby’s teeth as soon as its first tooth appears.
Clean your baby’s teeth twice a day, after breakfast and last thing at night.
To clean teeth, sit your baby or toddler up rather than lying them down. Use a small headed, soft bristled toothbrush or a Dental Wipe. Encourage your baby to chew on Brush-Baby’s Chewable Toothbrush, it’s designed to help clean teeth and gums as it is chewed and also acts like a teether.
Use a tiny smear of toothpaste for babies and toddlers (0-3 years) and for older children (3-6 years) use a pea-sized amount. Always use toothpaste with the correct amount of fluoride for your baby’s or child’s age (see Fluoride: choosing the correct toothpaste).
Remember when brushing with fluoride toothpaste:
Spit out toothpaste after use – this prevents your child from swallowing it
Don’t eat or swallow toothpaste – this could give your child too much fluoride
Don’t rinse – this keeps fluoride in the mouth and next to teeth so it can go on protecting the teeth for some time after brushing.
Newly erupted teeth are more delicate
Newly erupted baby teeth have not yet fully developed the toughened outer enamel surface to protect them and are more prone to decay and erosion. Avoiding sugary foods is very important especially from six months as the new baby teeth start to erupt. Wait at least 20 minutes after eating to brush teeth, this help preserve the tooth’s enamel.
Bacteria cause tooth decay
Tooth decay is caused by the presence of decay-causing bacteria such as Streptococcus Mutans in the mouth. These bacteria produce acids which destroy the tooth’s enamel. Once there is a hole in the tooth’s enamel bacteria can enter the tooth and destroy the soft pulp inside.
Decay causing bacteria can be passed from adults to babies particularly around the age of 6-31 months. This period is called the “window of infectivity.” Keeping your own mouth healthy and decay-free and not sharing eating utensils, toothbrushes or cleaning dummies with your own mouth can help to reduce the spread of these bacteria.
What is teething?
Teething is the emergence of the baby (milk or deciduous) teeth through your baby’s gums. It usually starts when your baby is between 6 to 10 months and continues until the age of 3 years when all the 20 baby teeth have come through.
Teething is different for each baby. For some babies teething is painless, others may just be irritable for a short time, but some may have a tough time for weeks being bad tempered or irritable/crying more than usual/ trouble sleeping, having pain and drooling or being more dribbly than usual with red, hot cheeks
Teeth do NOT ‘cut’ through the gums
There is a long-held and generally believed myth that teething pain is caused by babies’ teeth “cutting” through the gums. This is not biologically true. The teeth do not cut through the flesh. Instead, special chemicals are released that cause the cells in the gums to separate, allowing the new teeth to come through. This process of the gums receding to make way for new teeth should not be painful (although there may be some discomfort, which is why toddlers like to chew on the area). It is also often accompanied by lots of dribbling due to increased saliva – which (despite all the extra laundry) is actually a good thing, as this helps to flush the area and keep the gums clean.
What causes the teething pain that some children experience?
Teething can sometimes be uncomfortable because there is a lot of movement and change in the jawbone. This should stop as soon as the tooth appears. The molars (back teeth) can be especially uncomfortable because they are larger teeth. But the majority of pain during teething is generally due to inflammation and infection of the gum tissue – not the tooth! This can be caused by bacteria and food getting caught in tiny gum flaps around the emerging tooth. Therefore, the best way to prevent teething pain is to keep baby’s gums and those new emerging teeth as clean as possible.Soothing teething: What you can try:-
Clean gums This is the no. 1 way to help avoid teething pain altogether. Try using a clean gauze or specially designed Xylitol wipe to wipe you baby’s gums
there is a lot more information here about when and how often to go to the dentist, thumb-sucking, breastfeeding, snacking and more
How I Cope
My baby had her first tooth erupt at the end of four months and I was totally oblivious missing all the signs (flushed cheeks, irritable, excessive drooling) because they say it’s hereditary – I only had two teeth at my first birthday so I was assuming she would as well but maybe she takes after my husband but we have no idea when he got his teeth because his mom passed when he was 17 and his dad even if he still was alive wouldn’t have remembered that detail. I bought sugar-free teething gel and a toothbrush and since there is no fluoride in the water here in the UK we are told to use adult toothpaste (not kids) for babies because it has the fluoride they need but also so they get used to the mint flavor.
TEETHING – instead of me putting my hands in her mouth and her biting on me when I try to we decided to place a small amount of teething gel (Calgel) on her binky (dummy) and then let her be able to ‘hold’ the gel in place over her teeth a little which would be better than us trying to rub it on her gums and it dripping down and not working – well this is my theory anyway. She uses a binky (dummy) for comfort when she is trying to fall asleep and it seems like her teeth hurt her the most when she is trying to fall asleep and not concentrating on anything else. During the day when she is not trying to fall asleep she is usually biting/sucking on her muslin (burp cloth) her clothes or other ‘softer’ rubber things. Sophie the Giraffe is one of the best for teething she loves her because of all the different shapes and textures and she’s a flexible rubber.
TOOTHBRUSH– you need a baby toothbrush that has a small head and soft bristles. I started off using part of a cloth that was wet with a little toothpaste but I found it ineffective and she kept biting me. I coincidentally bought this same electric Baby Sonic toothbrush from the website above but I bought mine at JoJo Maman Bebe. I love it and she loves it – you click once and it lights up and a second click and it starts buzzing and she has her mouth wide open already smiling and legs kicking in excitement.
TOOTHPASTE– I came across this new toothpaste from Colgate a month ago when I was searching for a replacement for my Colgate Total when I found out it has Triclosan in it which is super bad:
If you are not yet aware of the potential dangers of triclosan, you should know that this antibacterial agent has been strongly linked to the following effects on human health:
* Abnormalities with the endocrine system, particularly with thyroid hormone signaling
* Weakening of the immune system
* Birth defects
* Uncontrolled cell growth
* Unhealthy weight loss
Although triclosan is best known for its presence in many brands of antibacterial soap, it is also found in a wide variety of personal care and household products. According to BeyondPesticides.org, triclosan is found in the following products:
Soaps: * Dial® Liquid Soap * Softsoap® Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap * Tea Tree Therapy™ Liquid Soap * Provon® Soap * Clearasil® Daily Face Wash * Dermatologica® Skin Purifying Wipes * Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser * DermaKleen™ Antibacterial Lotion Soap * Naturade Aloe Vera 80® Antibacterial Soap * CVS Antibacterial Soap * pHisoderm Antibacterial Skin Cleanser
Dental Care: * Colgate Total®; Breeze™ Triclosan Mouthwash * Reach® Antibacterial Toothbrush * Janina Diamond Whitening Toothpaste”
and loads more Children’s Toys, Cosmetics, Deodorant, other Personal Care Products, First Aid, Kitchenware – read all about the others here
So I came across another from Colgate that doesn’t have triclosan in it and thought I would try it – Colgate® Maximum Cavity Protection PLUS Sugar Acid Neutralizer™ they have a mint, whitening and kids version. I bought the mint because I wouldn’t give whitening to a baby and we were told not to us kids toothpastes on babies or else they will never get used to regular adult toothpaste. I like the taste and if the marketing and branding is true then it should be a better option especially for kids.
My baby just turned one this week and things change with age.
We still use and love her electric toothbrush however we started to use the Brush Baby Teething Toothpaste instead of the Colgate to help combat the teething pain.
How is teething going for you? Do you have any other tips or products that you like? Let me know below . . .
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