Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today I Brushed My Babies' Teeth.

Ash has gotten to that point were she pretty willingly says, "ahhhhh" and "eeeeeeee" so we can get her teeth cleaned.  Britt is a completely different story. 

This is her "getting my teeth brushed and I don't like it" face.  Seriously, this is the exact same expression she has when we brush her teeth - her screaming and hollering the whole time.  **laugh** 

But this post isn't so much about the joys of brushing my daughters' teeth.  It's about fluoride and how confused I am about it.  We don't have it in our water here.  I've had some pediatricians and dentists tell me that I need to have my kids on fluoride tablets from 12 months on.  I've received prescriptions but never filled them.  I have two kinds of toothpaste for my kiddos; one with fluoride and one with out and we alternate. 

I've read that some studies show fluoride dramatically reduces cavities.  But I've also read that some studies show fluoride is a terrible poison and  that we shouldn't be using it.  My suspicions, base on what I've read, are that in a perfect world we would definitely not use fluoride, but with a culture that embraces sugars like ours - we have nothing else to combat tooth decay with.  Merely brushing and flossing isn't enough to fight candy, cakes, soda, yogurt, juice, bread, soup, and everything else that sugar has been put into.  Let me revise that - calcium and magnesium help too.  So the healthier we eat, the healthier our teeth. 

I, myself, use a fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouth rinse now because my cavity history has been a long and dreadful one.  I wish that I could have had sealants put on when I first got my adult teeth.  I have no idea what the pros and cons of doing that are, but I'll have to look into it when my kids get to that point.  For now, I just want to figure out where fluoride fits in our lives.  We eat sugar - no doubt about it.  It seems that fluoride is the most help is in toothpaste and rinse.  The health risks are higher when it's ingested.  I've done some interesting reading at the Fluoride Action Network, WebMD,, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, & Fluoride Dangers Blog.  To name a very few. 

Have you thought or read about this?  Do you have an opinion?  What do you think?  Am I overly worried? 

P.S.  For those of you who haven't received any comment love from me recently, it may be due to Blogger not allowing me to leave comments for those of you who have word verification on your blogs.  I have no idea why.  It is beyond frustrating.  I hope, hope, HOPE they get that bug worked out soon.  I'm dying to talk to you!


Charlotte (Life's a Charm!) said...

I did hear/read that fluoride is bad, that is why it is advised to introduce fluoride-toothpaste, even the safe-to-swallow ones, to little kids when they already know how to effectively spit.

I started the habit of brushing teeth with my 4-year Matthew old kind'a late, so until how, he is very receptive about it. But with 13-month Mark, he sits on his chair by the bathroom door with a little toothbrush on his hand trying to imitate his big brother's actions when Matthew is brushing his teeth. And after he plays with his toothbrush on his mouth, I brush his teeth and gums and he is not receptive at all. I am guessing that when he is a little older, we will not have problems with this habit, compared to the receptive attitude I am getting from Matthew.


Thanks for sharing this information because I had no idea that some studies say that fluoride is harmful. I have two little ones & I also am very nerves that they will inherit my history of dental work. Maybe just using the fluoride a couple times a week would be better then not at all. Just know that you are not alone with this topic :)

mun said...

I think you are right to be worried and read more about the pros and cons of fluoride though I don't have any useful information for you. Better be safe than sorry!

Redbabe said...

Hmmm... my brain is too fried out to think about this fluoride issue. I think we have fluoride in our water. Never really put in much thought cons of fluoride. Brushing teeth has became a daily routine. :p What I usually do is just switching brands. Not sure why I do that though.

Michelle @Flying Giggles said...

I am just as confused as you are. My husband is definitely against fluoride, but I am still unsure. I know it is not good for us, but is there an alternative?

Amy said...

Ok, let me put all of you at rest. I'm not a doctor or a dentist, but I worked with two of the best dentists in my area, very intelligent, up-to-date guys who are VERY conservative with their methods. I was a dental assistant for 7 years and I heard about TONS of controversy over everything from amalgam fillings to flouridated water.

Here's my opinion, for what it's worth: use flouride. The health benefits FAR outweigh the health risks. Seriously. My former employer once said that flouridated water is the best thing that ever happened to dental health (or something along those lines)

Anonymous said...

That's a good question. I'm a dentist.
I highly recommend you getting sealants for your kids when their adult molar comes in. It does prevent cavities from forming.
If you don't have fluoride in your water a fluoride tooth paste is highly recommended when your child is old enough not to swallow it.
Fluoride in large quantites is poisonous.
We have fluoride in our water but we don't drink our water, we drink bottled water. We only brush our teeth with the water. Technically our kids aren't getting much fluoride.
I don't recommend fluoride tablets unless there is a history of cavities.
I don't use them as a preventive measure, even with my patients who have well water.
I think that if you are practicing good oral hygine like flossing and brushing twice a day with your kids then they should be fine.
Try to eliminate those sticky candies from their diets.
We don't allow our 2 year old to eat any candy at all.
Good luck with your decision.

alissa4illustration said...

I use it, but my kids go without. We have it in our water supply. Not my choice! I don't use toothpaste with it for my kids because they still swallow it! I'm trying so hard not trying to teach them how to spit. They spit, but still swallow before the spit. Such a pain. It's hard finding toothpaste without it at normal stores. I've had to go out of my way to a place like Whole Foods just to get it. Baking Soda is another thing that's supposed to help with cavities and it's much better for you.