Holistic Care of your Toddlers Teeth

Welcome to the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Personal Care
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles relating to their children’s personal care choices.

Here is my little guy at the dentist

My oldest child was hospitalized to have caps on her teeth when she was three. I was devastated. I thought we ate well, I thought we had good hygiene. I didn’t understand. I started the search for answers, but I ended up with more questions. I went to dentist after dentist only to be more confused and extremely frustrated. One dentist would blame it on extended breastfeeding, another on bacteria spread from sharing utensils with our daughter, another one claimed weak teeth enamel. I came to the conclusion they didn’t REALLY know.
We learned that some foods which I thought were healthy were just bad choices for kids teeth. This includes sticky foods like raisins and gummy fruit snacks. Starchy foods like potato chips were the worst for sticking to the teeth. We learned a valuable habit that we still use to this day to “swish and swallow” after eating anything. This quick swish of water (or whatever the child is drinking) will dislodge any sticky pieces of food from the child’s teeth. This habit is great for the times when you’re eating on the run and can’t get to a toothbrush. Just when I thought we made all the changes for healthy teeth I noticed my youngest had a tiny brown spot on his tooth that sends me back on that emotional roller coaster. I found an incredibly knowledgeable and supportive group of parents and professionals in the Very Young Kids Teeth and Alternative Kids Teeth Yahoo groups.  They are a safe place to ask questions and find some answers. One immediate change we made was to invest in an electric toothbrush. We decided to use the Oral B. We also started using Xylitol products 3-5 times a day. We used birch based Xylitol toothpaste and candies. Some Xylitol is made from corn and its use is more controversial.
Ideally, we brush our son’s teeth after each meal and snack.  We especially make sure his teeth are clean before he nurses. While I do not believe breastfeeding causes cavities, I read a study that made a lot of sense to me. It basically showed that teeth that were clean and exposed to breastmilk were made stronger by the milk exposure. However, teeth that already had sugars on them and then were exposed to breast milk were more likely to decay.
We experimented with a lot of kinds of toothpastes. I found it very frustrating that so many of the products marketed for children are full of harmful ingredients. We tried Squiggle, Toothpowder, and calcium-based toothpastes to help rebuild teeth. I haven’t found one that I feel completely comfortable using. We’re trying Christopher’s Herbal Tooth and Gum powder. My oldest will use it, but my youngest is not a big fan.  I’m now experimenting with making my own toothpaste using Bentonite clay and xylitol.
Good nutrition is essential to a healthy toddler, including having healthy teeth. There is a lot more to it besides limiting your sugar intake. Teeth are made from minerals and can be built up from the inside out. Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist that documented the benefits of a diet rich in good healthy fats made for strong, healthy teeth. Many people have found that following his diet filled with raw, organic milk, butter, cheese and fermented cod liver oil has been able to prevent and even heal cavities. Vitamin D is another important aspect in having healthy teeth and remineralizing decay in children and adults.Building up the body with probiotics and good bacteria helps build the immune system and makes for a healthy, happy mouth. We’ve even been able to add probiotics designed to add good bacteria to the mouth. These good bugs fight off the bad, cavity-producing bacteria. Dr. Ramiel Nigel wrote a book Cure Tooth Decay based on a lot of Dr. Weston’s ideas. I find his newsletters and book very informative.
We’ve added homeopathy to our daily routine to strengthen our toddler’s teeth. I love using homeopathy with my toddler because he loves his ‘wittle pills’. He thinks they taste good and are fun to take from the cap. We currently use #1 Calcium Flouride 6x, #2 Calcium Phosphate, #12 Silicea and cell salts. The goal is three times a day. We’ve also tried two herbal remedies to rub directly on the spot of decay. We alternate between Plantain extract and White Oak.
It’s been about a year since we noticed the small brown spot on Lil’ Z’s teeth. I’m happy to say we went to the dentist the other week and we had the dentist check the spot. They reported that the brown spot was hard, and not a concern. This brought me a lot of relief in that the spot hasn’t grown and there is no need for intervention at this point. Whew!
I share with you all of the things we do with our children in an effort to keep their teeth as healthy as possible. This is an area I do not claim to be an expert. I’m still learning. I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for healthy toddler teeth.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Holistic Care of your Toddler’s Teeth — Erica at ChildOrganics tells a tale of her children’s teeth issues and how she uses homeopathy and good nutrition to keep cavities at bay.
  • Bath Time Bliss : Fuss-Free Bath Time for Toddlers — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares how she has made bath time completely fuss free for both her and her toddler.
  • Homemade Natural ToothpasteCity Kids Homeschooling hosts a guest post on a homemade natural toothpaste recipe that kids will love!
  • Bathing Strike StrategiesCrunchy Con Mommy offers her best tips for keeping your little ones clean when they refuse to bathe.
  • Bodily Autonomy and Personal Hygeine — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses the importance of supporting a child’s bodily autonomy in the prevention of abuse.
  • A Tub Full of Kiddos! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment has kiddos who love the water, so bathtime is a favorite evening activity!
  • The Trials of Tidying My Toddler — Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares the difficulties she has with getting her on-the-go son to be still enough to get clean.
  • Wiped Clean — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen shares her recipe for homemade diaper wipe solution to clean those sweet little cloth diapered bottoms in her home!
  • Snug in a Towel: Embracing Personal Grooming — Personal care is time consuming,especially with more than one child; but the mama at Our Muddy Boots is learning to embrace this fleeting and needful time.
  • EC: All or Nothing? — Elimination Communication. Even the title sounds complicated and time consuming. It doesn’t have to, if you adapt it to meet your family’s needs, says Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Routine Battles — In a guest post at Anktangle, Jorje of Momma Jorje outlines a simple incentive to help inspire your little one to follow a routine.
  • Redefining Beauty For My Daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger relays her struggle to define her own femininity and how her preschooler unexpectedly taught her a lesson in true beauty.
  • Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Three Girls In The Tub — Chrystal at Happy Mothering shares how she turns bath time into a few minutes of peace and quiet.
  • Montessori-Inspired Activities for Care of Self — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has a roundup of Montessori-inspired activities for care of self and ideas for home environments that encourage independence.
  • 10 Gentle Tips for Little Ones Who Hate the Bath — Kim at life-is-learning gives 10 tips to get your little one into the bath and maybe even enjoying it.
  • The Boy With The Long Hair — Liam at In The Now discusses his son’s grooming choices.
  • Personal Care in a Montessori Home — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares a summary of the ways she has organized her family’s home to make for easy, Montessori-inspired toddler personal care.
  • Styling Kids — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is letting her kids decide what to look like.
  • Clean Kids: Laundry and Bath Tips — Kimberly at Homeschooling in Nova Scotia shares tips on how to get your children helping with laundry plus recipes for laundry and liquid soap.
  • How to Clean Your Children Naturally: A Tutorial — Erika at Cinco de Mommy shows you how to clean your children.
  • Cleanliness is next to… dirt — The lapse-prone eco-mom (Kenna at Million Tiny Things) sometimes forgets to bathe the kids. Except in the mud pit.