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helix aspersa

helenix in naturalfamily

natural tooth care

Hi all, my name is Siobhan. My daughter (first baby) is 7 months old & has one tooth halfway in & the one beside it about to burst through, both are on the bottom middle. That information isn't really relevant, but there you go. I usually brush with J.A.S.O.N. brand toothpaste, or baking soda & a drop of tea tree oil myself, but I'm certain the latter isn't appropriate for Clea as tea tree oil can be hard on the kidneys when ingested & too much baking soda ingested can cause a rise in blood pressure, & perhaps any toothpaste at all is unnecessary. I definitely want to avoid fluoride.

I'm wondering what you all did/do in terms of early tooth care, & what are your thoughts on fluoride treatments ?

Thanks in advance, & apologies if there was a tag dealing with this. I checked, but maybe missed something.



No toothpaste is necessary at a really young age - you can buy special cloths to wipe the teeth - then when baby is older, switch to a toothbrush with a very small amount (a tiny smear) of natural toothpaste (we use Tom's). The most important thing is to get baby used to having her teeth cared for so that as more teeth come in they are getting cleaned regularly.

I worried about fluoride because I had severe fluorosis on my front teeth as a kid and it was horrible (I got teased a lot), but both my pediatrician and dentist strongly recommended that we use fluoride toothpaste at least once a day. I know that too much is a bad thing, but a little is undoubtedly good for protecting against cavities. You can check to see whether the water in your area is fluoridated as well; if it is you may not need/want to use additional fluoride until she is older.

Other ways to protect against decay are more behavioral... if I could go back and do it again, I would nightwean my daughter much earlier and have her do less snacking. My daughter got her first teeth at 4 mos, nursed to sleep until 20+ mos, always wants snacks, resisted getting her teeth brushed and inherited my bad enamel (and aggressive mouth bacteria, most likely)... and as a result we are looking at a $1k outlay for dental work for her in the near future (fillings, sealants, plus having to put her under anesthesia to get the work done). :( So, yeah, pay attention to that oral health!
We also did no toothpaste until our kids were a little older and started requesting it (my 15 month old demands it now, since her big brothers get it also). For the under-two crowd we do a fluoride-free toothpaste - their favorite is the Nature's Gate's fennel flavored one. For the older two we do a squirt of whatever hippie fluoride toothpaste we find on sale. I also floss my kids' teeth, especially the ones that touch (my oldest has quite a bit of crowding in the lower teeth).
Another thing to consider is that fluorosis occurs when the teeth are growing, not after they've emerged. So if you are concerned about fluoride damage to the adult teeth, it's exposure from ages 2-8 that 'matter'. (I've been doing a lot of reading about pediatric dentistry lately, can you tell? lol)
We have been using some natural brand of flouride-free toothpaste and one of those finger brushes, but he hates it.
At this point I'm fine with some non-natural brand if only he would stop clamping his mouth shut.

We try to be gentle, never force him to do it, make it a game, use toothbrushing songs and funny faces and noises, etc. He still hates it.

So I don't know the answer... at this point if you can get them to not hate it you're probably doing great, even if you just brush it quickly with water.
Awww, Siobhan is such a lovely name and I swear I'm not biased (It's my daughter's second name).
Personally I'm not crazy about fluoride, but of course it's a personal choice. We raised the kids on well water and did not supplement with fluoride toothpaste. Kids are now 20 & 18 and no cavities, for what it's worth. I wiped their gums before they had teeth and used gentle toothbrushes when they got their teeth, with no toothpaste. Once they were old enough to know not to swallow the toothpaste, that was when we started using it.
After a few years of battling with The Husband over what is "food" and not, lol, the kids grew up without soda pop, sugar (I don't like it anyway since it makes my teeth feel grungy), and eating crunchy fruits and veggies like apples and carrots and drinking lots of water. My feelings are it's important to put good food and water in the kids' bodies and brush reasonably and the body will take care of itself mostly. Hopefully, unlike us, you can find a holistic dentist who cares about Clea's whole body health and understands that teeth are part of the whole picture.

Wishing you lots of joy and success with this and looking forward to others' input.
we just used a soft baby-friendly tooth brush with water until the kids were older (18months - two years), then natural toothpastes until they were 4 or 5 years old, because I'm adamant about drinking tap water and the tap water here isn't "bad" and has plenty of flouride their teeth have been checked out and been fine despite night nursing to age 3+. as always ymmv (and yes I know you didn't ask me, but uh, yeah there ya go :P)

Edited at 2012-07-18 09:30 pm (UTC)
You aren't supposed to use a toothpaste with fluoride until the child can spit it out-- around 2. We do use fluoride toothpaste at that point, although we all used fluoride-free toothpaste when my oldest was little. I've de-wooed a whole lot in the past 10 years.
You really don't need to worry about ingesting a tiny bit of baking soda. Kids are tougher than you give them credit for.
There are a lot of fluoride-free toothpastes on the market now. For little kids, even mainstream companies and drugstores carry these little combo kits of a rubber thimble thing you wear on your finger (to brush with) and a little tube of all-natural fluoride-free paste. Tom's and other brands carry fluoride-free options even targeted at older kids.

I've got a child with absolutely crappy enamel, and we live in a town with high-quality fluoride-free water, so now that mine are older, we absolutely use the fluoridated toothpaste.
I've found that those little rubber things you can wear on your finger are an excellent way to get your finger CHOMPED.
I actually have an allergy to fluoride AND tea tree oil, so I can understand your position. I'm not really sure if it's necessary yet, but that's just my opinion.

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