Dear Dr. Ellie
I have a 2 1/2 year old boy who has some signs of tooth decay on three of his top front teeth.
He had some decay between his two top front teeth which has been treated by a dentist - she scraped and filled it. There is clearly further damage on one of the central incisors and a lateral incisor - slight indentation and pale brownish colouring in the middle part of the two teeth, where it is flat, probably a couple of mm in size. There are also some white markings on the teeth, which I understand are a sign of damage.
I would really like to try and heal the damage - and wondered what you thought might be possible.
He is keen on brushing his teeth and likes the taste of mint. We use a children's flouride toothpaste, and I normally brush his teeth twice a day. At night he breastfeeds after brushing his teeth. I have started using xylitol with him, but I don't think we manage 5 times a day yet. I also have some MI paste, but I gather from your blog that you are not keen on this.
What would be the best routine for him? And should I stop him breastfeeding after he has cleaned his teeth? I also have a 5 year old whose teeth seem perfect, but would obviously like to make sure they stay that way.
It's important to view cavities as an infection.
(Imagine a sore throat infection - it's similar bacteria - cavity bacteria are sticky ones that stick on teeth and form cavities!)
Your whole family must do the "xylitol-water" drink or eat enough mints and gum to have 6-10 grams xylitol each day!
You are all infecting each other. The five year old may like this drink in the morning and then some of the mints or gum after meals later in the day.
Xylitol provides a natural method to slowly eliminate cavity bacteria from the mouth.
The effect is progressive and you need at least one to two teaspoons of xylitol or an equal amount as mints or gum.
Granular xylitol can be eaten off a spoon - but I recommend you mix it into water.
Mints and gum are delicious and you can mix and match the way you have xylitol - which is what I recommend.
It is great that you want to breastfeed your son BUT your son must have enough xylitol to protect his teeth.
I suggest at least one or two teaspoons of xylitol a day - spaced out throughout the day - in water is excellent.
The whole family must do this too!
I recommend one drop of ACT bubblegum or mint fluoride rinse on a brush for cleaning teeth.
Young children often eat toothpaste and cannot spit out well. Avoid the ingredients in toothpaste - and use a liquid rinse on the brush.
Brush teeth with a CLEAN TOOTHBRUSH (Bacteria live on your toothbrush! Be sure to frequently clean your brush by swishing the head in Listerine and rinse in water and air dry. Never share toothbrushes and do not store in an area near an open toilet. ).
Use one drop of this mouth rinse on the brush in place of toothpaste.
The alternating use of xylitol ( in the day) and ACT brushed on teeth two or three times a day - should help remineralize these damaged teeth.
It will take time but cavities stop growing and start healing as you begin.
Here is a useful link to a page full of information on our website
This routine will help heal these teeth.
I suggest the adults in the family consider getting on my Complete Mouth Care System - use Closys and the other mouth rinses I recommend - to clean their teeth like never before!! You will LOVE the outcome!!!
Ellie Phillips DDS
Solutions for Oral Health!
author, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye