Welcome to Part Two of our recent topic about babies, toddlers and their Parents. This is a growing concern about their dental health. We continue in the tradition of Elizabeth McAvoy’s cute and clever portrayal of babies and toddlers acting as though they are rabble-rousing members of a political advocacy group.
Notice to Parents: The Tempest over Teething
Babies have lodged a complaint against Parents using over-the-counter and local anesthetics for teething.
There have been some bad reactions among babies whose parents utilized local anesthetics like benzocaine and lidocaine on baby gums for teething pain.
Dr. Paul Casamassimo, the director of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Pediatric Oral Health and Research and Policy Center stated. “And stay away from topical anesthetics that contain benzocaine and lidocaine.” The APPD also cautions parents. Use “only oral analgesics and chilled teething rings to soothe the pain and irritation of teething.”
On a baby’s gums, “Benzocaine can lead to methemoglobinemia, a rare, but serious and sometimes fatal condition, where the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is reduced.” And guess who suffers? The FDA reports, “Children younger than 2 appear to be at particular risk…”
Likewise, lidocaine has brought on serious problems. “According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, lidocaine overdoses have been associated with jitteriness, confusion, vision problems, vomiting, falling asleep too easily, shaking and seizures.” Therefore, “the AAPD advises parents to avoid over the counter anesthetics for concerns over toxicity.”
FDA Warning To Parents
The FDA states, “Parents have been known to repeatedly apply viscous lidocaine if a baby keeps fussing, says Cohen. They have also been known to put liquid gel forms of a topical anesthetic into a baby’s formula or even soak a pacifier or a cloth in it, then put that in their baby’s mouth.”
The problem with lidocaine gel is dosage. “How much the baby gets is not measured. So it may be too much,” he says. For all these reasons, FDA recommends “viscous lidocaine not be used to treat the pain associated with teething.”
“Teething is a normal phenomenon; all babies teethe,” says Ethan Hausman, M.D., a pediatrician and pathologist at FDA. “FDA does not recommend any sort of drug, herbal or homeopathic medication or therapy for teething in children.”
And the babies apparently applaud the decision.
Babies Beg for Gentle Brushing—Even With Only One Tooth!
It’s so easy to overlook the parental brushing duty when babies only sport a few teeth. But Dentistry for children believes parents should be proactive about this responsibility.
Expressing his frustration, eighteen-month-old named Ben remarked with a wink, “Did you ever taste sour milk? Cleaning my mouth with a wash cloth or soft-bristled toothbrush should not be too much to ask.”
Hey, Parents: There’s a Good, Physiological Reason We Need Your Help with Our Tooth Brushing!
And apparently, these babies know their stuff. As 4-year-old Diana remarked, “Yeah, our parents can prevent all that plaque and oral bacteria.”
And she added ever so sweetly, “I don’t like to be trouble, but I only have a few teeth. I can’t do it right yet.”
In two or three years, Diana will have enough hand-eye coordination to be able to correctly brush her own teeth. At the current time, she needs a parent to help her with proper technique.
Spokes-babies also demand, “Please, Parents, Give us Proper Nutrition and Meal Timing!”
Like the protesting babies, the AAPD calls for “changes in nutrition and meal timing.” The reason: Those changes “can significantly reduce oral health issues.”
There was even talk among toddlers about staging a rally to burn their cute little non-spill sippy cups as unsafe for their teeth.
They quoted the concern of AAPD President Philip H. Hunke, DDS, and DMD. “Sippy cups were created to help children transition from a bottle to drinking from a regular cup.” He continued, “They’re too often used for convenience.”
Then he had added, “When kids sip for extended periods on sugared beverages, they’re exposed to a higher risk of decay. Sippy cups should only contain water unless it’s mealtime.”
Indeed some adult children now blame their parents for their adult sugary drink addiction. They were exposed to a constant liquid intake of free access to fruit drinks, usually from a sippy cup, and sometimes even from a bottle.
You might note, we have blogged previously about the dangers of fruit juice and drinks for children. This warning is especially true for those one year and under.
Parents: There’s A New Kind of Baby-bottle Tooth Decay
Even breast-feeding fell under fire from the demonstrating children. Apparently, the babies who breastfed at night without follow-up mouth-care were at caries risk. This was similar to stories of babies who experienced baby-bottle decay.
They were allowed to sleep with their bottles and their mouths-full of sticky formula.
In either case, sticky plaque could build-up on their tiny teeth–causing baby-bottle decay, only without the bottle.
Some breast-feeding one-year-olds feared they’d grow up to have complete lack of portion control. They felt condemned to tooth decay and obesity, based on the fact they had been fed more than 7 times a day. And parents, these babies felt loved. But, they also felt that they suffered from a lack of attention to mouth-care.
Older toddlers were up in arms about the sugary sweets foisted upon them by well-meaning adults. “You don’t know how much I crave a carrot or an apple.” But my parents are always giving me candy,” stated one sad little two-year-old.
Once again we credit an article by Elizabeth McElroy, in Denta-Buzz. It was she who thought of the initial and inventive idea. She envisioned a dialogue with spirited infants advocating for dental health.
We know that babies and toddlers cannot create the commentary or feelings in this blog. Thus, like we said in our previous blog, this one was a little tongue-in-cheek. It was a little departure from our usual style. We dedicate it to all parents who have watched a baby concentrating and wondered about the deep thoughts he might be pondering.