Taking Care of Baby’s First Teeth

Written by NPN Mentors on September 8th, 2011

Ask an NP Mentor, Healthy Living, Holistic Health

An NPN reader asks our natural parenting mentors:

My ten-month-old started getting teeth early at four months. At eight months she was on antibiotics for an ear infection. Not too long after, we noticed one of her teeth was chipped and had some brown spotting. After talking to another mommy friend with similar, only more progressive issues with her one year old, I am going to start the following:

  • Cod liver oil for her and perhaps me too
  • MI paste
  • Lower grains for her
  • Continue to brush her teeth twice a day

She is up to six teeth, working on seven now. Are there any other measures to take? I hope to hold off taking her to the dentist until she is a year old, and I hope these measures will help reverse or at least stop decay. Any thoughts? She breastfeeds day and night and eats a decent amount of table food daily.

Here’s what our natural parenting mentors had to say:

Amy: You are a conscientious Momma. The fact that you are already taking action to ensure your daughter’s well-being will make a difference. There are many schools of thought on what will help prevent tooth decay. Some resources that may be helpful include Brian Palmer, DDS, and La Leche League.

When I was a Leader, we recommended wiping off the teeth after as many feedings as possible with a soft, clean cloth. Some parents also find putting some xylitol on the teeth after feedings helps prevent decay. Although I have not tried them, the company called Spiffies sells wipes and xylitol solution specifically for children to make tooth care more pleasant.

If you can find a gentle, non-invasive dentist to take your child to, it may be beneficial. The dentist could take a quick look and give some suggestions that you could put to use if you find them helpful. I can understand you wanting to wait until at least one year. Until then, you might play some dentist role-playing games at home where your baby can play with your teeth and vice versa, so the experience is not a big surprise. Some kids can feel a bit invaded when someone wants to see inside their mouth.

Overall, taking an active yet relaxed approach will help you and your baby get through this experience with the least amount of stress. Tooth decay is not fun, but it can be dealt with. I do encourage you to seek an alternative provider if you are advised to discontinue breastfeeding, if the dentist will not allow you to be in the room, if your child cannot sit on your lap during an exam or dental work, or if you just feel like it is not the right fit. There are dentists out there who will work with you if you are determined to find one.

Acacia: It is wonderful that you are focusing on healing your daughter’s tooth decay in a natural way! Just as the rest of our bodies can heal, so too can our teeth without major interference. Certainly there are situations where dentists are necessary, but there is a lot you can do before turning to the dentist. My husband and I were shocked to find out how much tooth decay my oldest son had when he went in for his first dentist appointment at the age of three. He had six cavities! We began treating them conventionally, one was filled and another capped. Needless to say, it was a horrible experience. We knew we had time before returning to fill the others, and since then have looked into alternatives and began treating them at home.

In order to stop the decay and prevent further decay, I have begun limiting our intake of grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. As often as I can, (and it is a work in progress) I take specific precautions like soaking the grains with lemon juice or eating sourdoughs. Even though we did not drink much juice to begin with, I have nearly eliminated it because the simple sugars are such big cavity-producers, especially in weaker teeth. In order to help his teeth heal, he takes cod liver oil, and I recently learned to begin taking it with butter oil because it contains so many components necessary for re-mineralizing teeth. I would also take it, if I were you, since you are still breastfeeding. Calcium and phosphate also play a large role in re-mineralizing teeth. We have continued brushing twice a day and flossing, but have recently looked into homemade “toothpaste” because glycerin, which is an ingredient in most toothpastes, can interfere with re-mineralizing teeth.

My strongest advice is that you look into purchasing and reading the book, Cure Tooth Decay by Rami Nagel. He did extensive research in writing this book all because of his own daughter’s tooth decay. You can read some of his work in this online article, Heal and Prevent Early Childhood Caries Without Dental Surgery or Flouride. You can also read an article in this Mothering forum thread.

Chris: When I was growing up the story of a cavity went like this:

Bad little boys and girls who eat too many sweets and do not brush their teeth properly get cavities. When you get a cavity there was no hope for it to heal. It must be drilled out and filled at the dentist’s office.

However, that story just is not true. Just like any broken bone in your body, your teeth can mend themselves.

What you put into your body affects the health of your teeth and can bring about good health and healing. A good combination of herbs for dental healing is comfrey (traditionally used to heal wounds and bones), golden seal (a natural antibiotic), slippery elm (traditionally used to strengthen the body and draw out impurities) and aloe vera (contains natural detoxicants and removes dead matter from the body).

Additional supplementation for strength and healing in your teeth is through the use of liquid minerals, or drinking natural mineral water for a more straight-from-nature approach. Zinc, iodine, and magnesium are all vital to healthy bone structure. While on the subject of magnesium, the body’s intake of magnesium and calcium must be balanced in order for calcium to be properly assimilated into the bones (including your teeth).

Finally, eat whole grains. These have shown to help build strong bones and teeth. The toughness of whole grains helps clean the teeth, and processed grains have a way of sticking to your teeth causing all sorts of problems. Protein-rich diets are also good for your teeth, especially if the source of these proteins is grass-fed meat and dairy. This is the traditional, ages-old way of raising animals and obtaining dairy, and it certainly did our ancestors no harm!

The body has a way of healing itself from the inside out. The teeth are no exception, and the steps you have already taken are a step in the right direction. I hope you find these other tips useful.

6 Responses to Taking Care of Baby’s First Teeth

  1. Jessica L

    This is our story:
    Ok mama! I’m not good at summarizing so this is basically our whole story and I apologize ahead of time if it’s somewhat scattered, lol. By the way my son is Breastfed on demand throughout the day. When my son’s top teeth came in (11 months old, he is now 21 months old) I noticed white chalky areas on them. At 13 months I had my dentist take a quick look at them and he said they were fine. At around 17 months I noticed a tiny pit appearing on his top front tooth near the gum line (so small it looked like a speck). I thought it was probably a cavity/decay so I immediately began researching. I found the yahoo group alternative kids teeth and read through many many many posts on there and got lots of good information, i highly recommend that group. My son also has a tight low labial frenulum (the piece of skin in the top of your mouth that connects your top lip to your gum line), well his comes all the way down between his front two teeth. When his lip is relaxed (when I’m not pulling it up to look at it), so basically all the time it actually forms almost like a pocket over his front teeth (I’m pretty sure this causes or at least contributes to his decay), I have an appointment to see about getting it clipped. He has also fallen and ripped it twice and it seems very painful for him when that happens. I have to brush around it when I brush or it will bleed, etc. So I’m thinking it may be a good idea to go ahead and have it clipped. Anywho, I went ahead and made an appointment with a local pediatric dentist to confirm that it was in fact decay. It was, and by the time of our appointment (April of this year), there was also decay on the other front tooth (it’s the worst on the right one), and on the back of all front 4 teeth. Of course she wanted to drill and fill, basically give my son a mild sedative, put him in a thing similar to a straight jacket, and I wouldn’t even be allowed to come back at all for the procedure. I had already been researching and knew that this was not what I wanted to do, I knew this would be very dramatic for my son and I wasn’t going to allow anything to happen if I wasn’t present. There are several theories to what causes/contributes to tooth decay. Also, my son has never had juice of any kind, soda, candy, and very little sweets. Wheat and other grain are high in phytic acid which can block the body’s absorption of minerals (some of which are very important for tooth health). Before my son got decay he was having oatmeal (grains) for breakfast every morning and maybe eating one more small meal a day, I would also let him snack on cereal (grains). I decided to cut all grains out completely since I feel like this probably contributed to his decay. Several cell salts are good for helping heal decay. Bioplasma, Calcium Phosphorus, and Calcium Fluoride (this is not like regular fluoride and is completely safe), I do not use fluoride at all and we have well water so absolutely none. Those are the 3 cell salts we use (the bioplasma is 12 different minerals), that are important for tooth/bone health and repair. It’s also important to use a toothpaste (or tooth soap (www.toothsoap.com), or tooth powder (www.eco-dent.com)) that doesn’t contain glycerin. Glycerin coats the teeth and it takes 30 rinses before it completely comes off. When the teeth are coated with glycerin saliva (which contains vitamins and minerals) cannot reach the teeth, and other things that you may be using to heal the teeth cannot reach the teeth. You can also pack the teeth/tooth with pascalite clay (www.pascalite.com), it contains lots of minerals. It comes in a powder and you can add water to make a thick paste and pack it in/on the tooth. I brush my son’s teeth 3-5 times a day and give 2-3 of each 3 cell salts (so 6-9 total) before each brushing, spray colloidal silver on the teeth, then brush (using grape tooth soap), then pack with the pascalite clay. You also need to make sure that you are getting enough Vitamin D (i can’t remember exactly but if you don’t get enough vit D, it affects how well your body uses calcium) either by sunlight or supplement. My son has a dairy allergy so he can’t have most of these things but raw milk (from cows that are grass fed), meat (grass fed), cheese (from grass fed cows), bone broths are good things to eat for tooth decay. We also use a high vitamin butter oil/cod liver oil blend from green patures, it’s pretty expensive, like 60$ for maybe a small 8 oz bottle, you use a very small amount though, you can put it in smoothies, I apply directly to the teeth. Also, xylitol (a natual sweetner from birch trees) mints and/or gum is good to eat/chew throughout the day. Xylitol is known to help prevent/heal tooth decay so I let my son eat xylitol mints throughout the day, especially after meals or snacks if I can’t brush right away (I use spry and xylichew brands) I also put listerine on the tooth brush after I rinse it off to kill any bacteria that may be on the toothbrush. You should also let the brush dry completely between brushings (I alternate between 2 brushes). Oh, I almost forgot. There is a treatment called Ozone Therapy that is basically Ozone gas applied directly to the teeth and it kills decay and makes it easier to remineralize the teeth. You just have to find a dentist that offers it. There aren’t many on the East coast or down south. We actually flew to Chicago (We live in Georgia) at the beginning of May to have it done to my son’s teeth (it’s relatively cheap for dental treatment, 300$ for 4 teeth. Insurance won’t cover it though). It’s also referred to as HealOzone. We also use Mi-Paste twice a day it’s a recaldent that remineralizes the teeth. Even if it appears to get licked off there are parts that stay on the teeth for 20 minutes. I put it on my son after he falls asleep at nap and bed time. You must apply it to clean (brushed) teeth. There is also a xylitol gel made by Spry that you can apply to the teeth and/or brush with. The whole process is not cheap and certainly not easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. I have managed to heal one of the top teeth, the right tooth still has decay but I’m very hopeful that we will be able to heal it too. If it hasn’t improved in the next 2-3 months I may get another round of Ozone Therapy done on his teeth. I hope you find this information helpful. You must be committed and diligent if you want to heal the teeth naturally. In case you’re wondering, I would say everything I use on his teeth costs me maybe 60$ a month give or take. (Not including the Ozone Therapy that I had done, that was a 600$ trip). Monthly, the most expensive thing of the 60$ total is the colloidal silver which is about 20$ a month. I know it sounds like a ton of work but once you get used to it, it’s really not bad. I’d say it only takes us 3-4 minutes for each brushing (in which he eats cell salts, I spray colloidal silver, brush, and pack with clay), then I hand him mints throughout the day, when in the kitchen I’ll remember to apply the butter oil (has to be kept in fridge). It really doesn’t take any extra time from our day, it’s totally do-able. If you have any questions AT ALL please don’t hesitate at all, I’m happy to help any way I can :):) Good Luck Mama!!!

    • Kallyn

      I am interested in healing my own sons teeth. He has the same issues, labial tie and early tooth decay at the gum line on his two front teeth and what appears to be a dark spot on a lower tooth. (He was on antibiotics for a long course, as he almost died from RSV and Pneumonia and has a depressed immune system due to a genetic disorder.) I am currently brushing with a wash cloth with water, and applying terramin clay twice a day. He is still breastfed and receiving lots of outside time and vitamin D. Could you break down what you do in a day? Like at 9 am we… with x, which is this brand.

    • Julienne Piper

      Hey there, my baby is dealing with the same issues, I was wondering if you can give an update. How is it going now? Are the teeth still healing or did you loose any? I am so stressed about my little girls teeth, it is so hard to know what to do.

  2. Luschka

    I can add that in myself, since I’ve switched to a fluoride free, xylitol added toothpaste, and switched the sugar in our jar to xylitol granules, there’s been a DRAMATIC improvement in my teeth – including the reduction of blackening in a root canal tooth. I am not sure of the/any effects of xylitol on kids though :/

  3. Alicia @ Lactation Narration  

    “I do encourage you to seek an alternative provider if you are advised to discontinue breastfeeding, if the dentist will not allow you to be in the room, if your child cannot sit on your lap during an exam or dental work, or if you just feel like it is not the right fit.”

    I just want to emphasize this again. It is shocking to me how many pediatric dentists do not allow parents to stay with their children during dental visits! When I took my daughter to the dentist for the first time, I found that this was their policy. I was not okay with that. I wouldn’t send my 3 year old back with the pediatrician by herself, why would I send her back with the dentist by herself? It just didn’t feel right to me at all. So we left. The office staff was very rude and told me that this was common policy at pediatric dental offices. I ended up taking her to my own dentist, who has been very gentle with her. If it doesn’t feel right, find another provider!

  4. Katrina Hanley

    SO interesting to know that there is so much I can do already!!!! This is amazing!!