Jack has four teeth now! His two front teeth popped through not long after his bottom ones which means it is time to start brushing! After going back and forth a bunch (mainly in regards to the fluoride debate) we finally decided on a toothpaste.
We chose Earth’s Best Toddler Toothpaste and are using the brush it comes with for now as Jack gets used to brushing. A few things made me choose this one over a few others I was also looking at. First, it specifies it is for kids aged six months to three years, and that made me feel really comfortable. A few children’s toothpastes are only for kids two and up, or state you should talk to your doctor before use. I also really liked the natural ingredients- I pretty much always wish there are less ingredients in stuff, but less than ten ingredients isn’t too bad. Not as big deals but I also just already recognized and liked the brand, and also the flavor is great. I mean, it isn’t super delicious but it isn’t gross. I had previously purchased one other toothpaste for him that pretty much lived up to my high expectations but the taste was awful. Jack has been so great at letting me brush his teeth, and since this is such a new thing, I didn’t want to create a negative connotation to brushing his teeth with the bad taste. Finally, and most important to me, this toothpaste is fluoride free (fluoride is quite the controversy, apparently.)
The American Dental Association recommends brushing children’s teeth twice a day as soon as the first tooth appears with an amount of fluoride toothpaste comparable to a grain of rice and children should be taught to spit as soon as possible. That didn’t sit right with me for a few different reasons. If you are only supposed to use such a small amount and it should be spit out, that made me feel like there was some risk involved here. And besides, the ADA had previously been advising no fluoride in children under two up until 2014. So is fluoride okay or not? It reminded me of my internal conflict with caffeine when I was pregnant. Only a certain amount was recommended and that made me feel like if too much can be bad, I’d rather avoid it all together. But damn, I love iced coffee. I decided to do more research and came up with pros and cons of fluoride.
Pros: Well, there is really only one pro here but it is a really good one and super important- cavity prevention! Fluoride is naturally present in a lot of food and water and is added to toothpaste because it helps protect tooth enamel and prevent decay. Definitely a good thing!
Cons: Too much ingested fluoride in young children can lead to fluorosis, white or brown staining on permanent adult teeth. Also, if a young child swallows a large amount of fluoride toothpaste it is recommended that the child be monitored at the doctor to make sure they are okay. Swallowing large amounts can lead to stomach pain, intestinal blockage, vomiting, diarrhea and more. That freaks me out!
Making choices as a parent is so hard sometimes, and I’m only ten months in! I feel really lucky, for the most part parenting has been so natural for me. I don’t feel like I need to read a million books or take a class to know the right thing to do. I trust my instinct and know I’m doing the best for Jack but every now and then these little things pop up and I’m clueless. I definitely don’t want Jack’s teeth to suffer, but I definitely don’t to put him at risk in any other way either.
I think I came up with a pretty good compromise for myself where I feel the most comfortable : brush Jack’s teeth twice a day with this fluoride free toothpaste and teach him how to spit it out. Who knows how long it will be until he learns to spit on command- one month, six months..(although he is going through huge mental leaps right now.) Once he does catch on and spit while he is brushing I will switch to a toothpaste with fluoride in it. I feel like that is a really good solution for us, but this is just one of those things every mama has to figure out for herself.
I’m SO happy Jack has four teeth now! It feels good to make progress and know we are that much closer to no more teething (but still so far away, wah.) The teeth right next to all the ones he already has usually come in pretty soon after so hopefully we knock more out soon! Also, I think I might be an amber necklace believer now but it is still too soon to tell! I got him a new light and raw one instead of the polished dark one I had before. I will definitely keep you guys updated and let you know if it is really helping him!