Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Teething leads to teeth, toothbrushes, and dentists

So I get a weekly email from the hospital where I delivered S...you know the ones, you probably got them while you were pregnant from "What to Expect" or "Baby Center" where they told you how big your bean was (compared to a variety of fruit and vegetables) and what part of their bodies were developing.  (Sorry tangent: Wouldn't it be cool if these post birth emails also compared your baby's size to something each week?  They could include pictures like the ones from this webpage.)  ANYWAY...

So I get the weekly email for the 21st week and here is the direct quote from it:
           Don’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle of anything but water in his mouth, as tooth decay can begin even in early infancy. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists also recommends avoiding on-demand (non-scheduled) breastfeeding after the first tooth comes in to prevent decay. (Do continue nursing, however!) If you give your child juice, give it in a sippy cup, not in a bottle.
Are you freakin' kidding me?  Who are these people at the AAPD that think my 5 month old should no longer feed on-demand?  I thought maybe the hospital was confused about this so I went and checked out the AAPD's website.  Here are two quotes from the faqs page.
What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
          A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.
How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child's teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child's first birthday.
And here is a quote from their "baby care" page:
Q. How can I prevent tooth decay from nursing or using a bottle?
At-will breast-feeding should be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt and other sources of nutrition have been introduced. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water. Drinking juice from a bottle should be avoided. Fruit juice should only be offered in a cup with meals or at snack time.

Avoid nursing children to sleep? Avoid "at-will breast-feeding"?  Seriously? I will say that I try and not nurse my son to sleep because he tends to freak out if he falls asleep in my arms and then wakes up in the crib.  However, there is no way that I am going to arose my sleepy son after nursing him so that I can brush his teeth.  I mean, I am all for cleaning them once a day as recommended, but to clean them after the last feeding is ridiculous.  I cannot even begin to understand the at-will breast feeding thing.  If I am only going to brush his teeth once during the day, why does it matter if he is feeding on-demand the rest of the time?  I get that these people really only care about the kid's teeth, but don't you think they would work with pediatricians to figure out what is most realistic??  As far as I am concerned, right now the AAPD can suck it. 

5 comments:

Jackie H. said...

I have a 4 mo old teether right now and a 2 yo who HATES to brush. I feel you! All of this stuff freaked me out and I felt guilty that I wasn't brushing their teeth and gums properly. I even held my son down to brush (and prob. scarred him for life.) THEN, my pediatrician told me it should just be educational and fun. Different people tell u different things. Who to listen to??

kris said...

I think this is just one of those silly times when the people writing the "rules" have given no thought to how a mom is supposed to go about applying them.

Both of my daughters nursed and then fell immediately asleep at the end of the day, even after their teeth came in. And I would never have dreamed of waking them to brush their teeth! That's just crazy talk!

And their teeth? Are lovely and cavity-free.

You do what you can, and then? You do what you know to be best for your child. You're the boss, not some silly set of arbitrary rules.

estefanick said...

Ha ha... I was cracking up when I read this!! You are absolutely right- this is nuts!! It sounds to me like you are doing all the right things so don't worry! :)

Nichole said...

That advice is rubbish.

I nursed my daughter on demand and when we took her to her first dentist appointment, he was thrilled with her teeth.

We just made sure to brush her gums/early teeth once a day with one of those rubber toothbrushes for babies.

Follow your gut! :)

Alex@LateEnough said...

It's written by men who were working when their wives had babies (if they are even fathers).
Nurse at-will unless you WANT to nurse on schedule. The teeth will be fine as long as you aren't giving your kids juice.
We didn't even START brushing until two. (Although toothbrushes make EXCELLENT toys and teethers. It's still a fav of my 13 month old. So we SORTA started sooner.)

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