Baby tooth decay???

[deleted account] ( 10 moms have responded )

My son has 7 teeth and I just noticed the newest one coming in looks sort of grey and has a brown spot towards the underneath. I fear this is tooth decay! He just turned one and is breastfed still. I don't know what to do. I've done some research that says that breastfeeding doesn't cause tooth decay but what am I doing that is? Should I take him to the dentist asap?

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Catherine - posted on 03/27/2011

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This is certainly something to ask the pediatrician about, but I wouldn't rush out to the dentist unless the tooth seems to be bothering your son. There are a lot of things that can cause tooth discoloration, including the iron in liquid vitamins if you are using any of those. It is also possible that this is a cavity. I do think we sometimes talk in too many absolutes with breastfeeding -- it certainly is possible for a breastfed baby to get a cavity, breastfeeding doesn't completely prevent them. Dr. Bob Sears addresses the issue in the link I copied below.

http://www.askdrsears.com/faq/bf3.asp

Melissa - posted on 04/07/2011

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By the way Catherine, that was a great article that you posted by Dr. Bob Sears.

I think the important thing is to remember that we do have to brush our babies/toddlers and kiddos teeth. I know I haven't stopped nursing my daughter even though the decay. But have increased and become regular with brushing. This helped vastly. Especially since her last check up, there was no more decay and the decay did not get any larger (sigh). That was a huge relief.

Lori - posted on 03/27/2011

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it could also be another type of mineral deposit too. All depends on whats in your drinking water. Dental caries (cavities) don't look brown. It really sound like it is either fluorsis or another mineral deposit, in which case there isn't much your dentist will be able to do. The tooth will look that way till he looses it and gets his permanent teeth. It's also possible that the next one he gets will be discolored too since they were probably developing at the same time and got the same dose of whatever it was.

Lori - posted on 03/26/2011

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It might be dental fluorsis. (to much fluoride). Is your drinking water fluoridated? Do you use a baby toothpaste without fluoride or a toddler toothpaste with fluoride? A little bit of fluoride is fine and even good, but too much can cause discoloration. You may want to take him in to your dentist to confirm what it is though.

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Melissa - posted on 04/07/2011

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It's mainly breastfeeding at night, when the milk can sit on there teeth and then not brushing it off. I know after my daughter nurses before bed, I give her a drink of water.
Our bedtime ritual is we brush teeth, go potty, get a pull up on and jammies. She nurses. & then before she falls asleep I have her have a sip of water from her water bottle. and then I rub her feet or /and draw on her back until she falls all the way asleep. Before she would nurse to sleep and we were not meticulous about brushing her teeth all the time, as we are now.
When she gets up: she goes potty, usually wants to nurse but I'm trying to transition her to having breakfast :(
So, sometimes she does both. But then I brush her teeth again.

But, I wasn't able to see the cavities because they were on the backside of her tooth and the crevice of another tooth. I know where they are now because the dentist showed me and so I start brushing there.

So, again your son most likely is not having decay as the issue. But yes, babies can indeed get decay when breastfeeding (especially when they fall asleep and the milk sits in their mouth on the teeth...And there is not enough brushing)

Melissa - posted on 04/07/2011

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With my daughter's decay spots we have been able to slow them down and keep them small. But, with daily brushing she is fine. Genetics is not a part of it. You have to brush their teeth if you want to prevent decay. It happens more often than you'd think and then what people want to talk about. I think it's because as a mom, it's embarrassing to think that you could have prevented it. I was naive and thought that since my daughter was 95% breast feeding at 2yrs that I wouldn't have to worry about cavities. I didn't make the connection about my sons tiny cavity until I had spoken with the pediatric dentist that we have now. She says that she sees is all the time. But we brush her teeth in the morning and before bed now. And the two spots have not gotten any larger. But this has caused me a lot of stress. So, I have gotten her to eat more solids lately, but she is also almost three. Anyhow, if it is the front of the tooth, it may be more of a mineral deposit, like others have suggested. Anyhow, it wouldn't hurt seeing a dentist that specializes in children. It's good to introduce the dentist at 1 yr, even if the child is watching mommy get her teeth cleaned. I only caught my kids cavities really small because they were so young. My son had to have a small filling, but my daughter has not.

Good luck.

Nicole - posted on 04/07/2011

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Yep, I agree with first poster. This doesn't sounds like tooth decay. More like a mineral deposit, too much fluoride or even a reaction to maybe a medication he may have needed while that particular tooth was forming.



And it is very rare for breastfeeding to actually cause decay teeth. If that were the case, many children in history would have been in trouble before they even developed their mature teeth. I am a firm believer that cavities in the EBF baby have more to do with genetics making that particular child more susceptible to the sugars in BM than it does with the breast milk itself.

Sara - posted on 04/06/2011

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could be. if it is there isn't much you can do with the decayed one just try and prevent more from decaying. breastmilk can cause tooth decay but does he have a sippy cup too? if so just water is best, not juice. even if you go to the dentist there isn't anything they can do with the decayed too only suggest how to stop more from being decayed.

Melissa - posted on 04/06/2011

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breastfeeding can cause tooth decay, just not as bad as formula. My middle child got a cavity btwn his front two teeth, and my 2 3/4yr old has two small spots of decay, that I and her dentist have been monitoring. First you need to brush his teeth and yes, he's not to young to go to a dentist. Find a pedi-dentist though. And yes, breastfeeding alone can cause decay if the teeth are not being brushed. Because if the bm sits in their mouth while they sleep, repeatedly, it can cause decay. I had a long conversation about this with my child's pediatric dentist.

[deleted account]

Breastfeeding alone does not cause tooth decay, but you still need to properly brush teeth after eating/drinking other foods (not suggesting that you don't). Most teeth issues are genetic so more than likely it's nothing that you could prevent. You could always ask the pediatrician at the next visit or if you've already had it you can call and see what they suggest. You don't need to worry about breastfeeding harming him, but maybe add some extra teeth brushings in the day? We had a baby at daycare that had an issue with teeth so her parents had us brush after every bottle and we saw improvement (she was formula fed and hers was caused by a bottle in bed, not quite the same, but if may help to clean more).

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