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brushing toddler's teeth: toothpaste or none at all?
Hi, just a quick question. We've been brushing our DS's (14 months now) teeth for the last months very successfully with a baby toothbrush / baby toothpaste. I say 'successfully' because he seemed to love it, would suck on the toothbrush as if it were a lollipop & (I assume) he would swallow some toothpaste (we didn't use much). However, my dentist has told me to not use any toothpaste at all for DS because fluoride if it's swallowed is dangerous for young babies. He said to just use toothbrush & to only use toothpaste again when DS can learn to spit it out.
Problem is: DS is no fool & now that the lovely strawberry flavour has gone refuses to brush altogether.
How strange. My dentist said that the fluoride would help strengthen the teeth and that the baby toothpaste was made on the assumption that babies would swallow at least some of it and so was safe. Also another dentist recommended I give fluoride as a supplement to strengthen my baby's teeth.
I have always used toothpaste. The free toothpaste we got from the hv comes with a leaflet that says to use a smear of standard fluoride toothpaste (1000ppm) and that is what I have always done. It seems to be part of an oral health program in Scotland (childsmile)
Overmydeadbody: the baby toothpastes we've been using have very low fluoride from what I understand. But the dentist did scare me saying things like 'fluoride never leaves the body' and 'babies / toddlers SHOULDN'T swallow' etc. I have no knowledge at all about the whole fluoride issue, so not sure what to do, as DS now simply refuses to brush altogether!
hmm this sounds like rubbish to me. One of my friends is a consultant in dental public health and her advice was to brush baby teeth with a tiny smear of adult toothpaste - just use what we use basically but only a smear which is what she has done with her own kids. My friend has also been following the same advice given by her own dentist
A dentist visited my postnatal group and said to use normal adults' toothpaste but only a tiny amount. (Just a tiny smear on the brush, about the size of...um...an ant?) She actually said to throw away the baby toothpaste in the Bounty pack as it didn't have enough flouride to do any good.
Anyway, that's what I did. But this week when I visited my own dentist she said just let dd chew the brush and don't worry about using any toothpaste (even though she has loads of teeth).
So I'd like to know as well, but for the time being I'm carrying on using the adult paste.
BosomForAPillow- now I'm more confused! Trouble is, my DS won't chew on the toothbrush or even allow us to bring it near his mouth unless there's toothpaste on it (which he then sucks on & obviously swallows)...
Not sure what to do. How can I get him to not swallow?! He's only 14 months.
sazlocks, thanks, this is helpful! Although unfortunately it doesn't really address the issue of swallowing. I'm hopeful that small (tiny) amounts of swallowing, which is what my DS does, is ok... but still I'm confused about the whole thing!
Our borough's 'dental health educator' visited a group i go to recently and said that you should use a tiny smear (not a pea-sized blob, literally, a tiny smear), and brush, and that nobody sane expects small children to spit out the paste: it's fine. I always ask DS (2.6) to spit, and for a while (maybe 1.8-2.2) he did, but he's given up again. She did say though that you HAVE to brush their teeth, just chewing on the brush etc. is no good at all. And one really useful tip, which transformed toothbrushing for us: always start from the back and work forward. That way they can feel the brush is coming out of their mouths, and can bear it for just the little moment longer till it does. If it's going in, then they have no idea how long they have to put up with it for, and so will struggle more quickly. As I said, transformed tooth brushing for us!
Thanks Sazlocks for that link, I will keep going with the adult toothpaste.
Maria, I read another toothbrushing thread once where the dc wouldn't let parents brush their teeth, and someone suggested seeing if the dc would let a hand puppet do it instead, which worked for that OP...worth a try! If not I'd go back to the flavoured toothpaste he likes - it must be better to do some brushing with baby paste than no brushing at all.