ECC Help

Dr. Ellie,

I’m so upset about my 18 month old daughter’s newest health issue. I’ve taken her to see 2 dentists and they arrived at 2 different conclusions as to why my daughter all of a sudden has tooth decay. I do not recall seeing any problems with her teeth until 2/12/08. Prior to that, I’d been paying attention to her teeth not only for brushing purposes, but because of a fall where her top front tooth bled. The decay that she has now surprised both dentists because it doesn’t follow normal pattern. Meaning that the erosion and staining is only on the front side of her teeth and the backs are perfectly intact. The marks are also in a line. I’ve been told to stop night nursing, apply a topical fluoride, prescribed fluoride drops for her, told to not use a tooth brush but, rather wet gauze to wipe her mouth and given a lesson on foods/drinks she should not be consuming (all of which she does NOT consume any way). What is bothering me is the timing. I read your blog and found it interesting that these issues arose while my daughter became ill with a bad cold. She had to breath through her mouth for a few days. So, dry mouth became a factor. I hadn’t been brushing her teeth during that time because she was already uncomfortable and I didn’t want to add insult to injury. It seems that I did inadvertently. When I first saw the marks, I thought it was simple staining and used a VERY small amount of regular toothpaste to brush her teeth. I did this twice within 4 days and it seems that her teeth only got worse. I have to also mention that she’d been put on Amoxicillin and seems to be having an allergic reaction. She’s broken out in itchy hives. Could the Amoxicillin cause tooth staining or enamel erosion? In the meantime, I need help with her ECC. I’ve done the research and I understand that breast milk in and of itself is not the cause. I am wanting to try Xylitol (not just for her, but for our family). I guess I just need some guidance and your professional opinion based on what I’ve told you. 

Thanks for your time, 

Dear JD,

I am sorry that you have had such a worrying time.
We can definitely clear up these issues and make sure that her permanent teeth will be completely beautiful!

I would believe that several things have occurred some slowly and some suddenly.
I would guess that over time there has been some erosion of these front teeth. My guess would be that it may have been sweetened medications or juice, especially if taken just before sleeping.
This may have been a year ago but the roughened areas would still be prone to staining.

The sudden staining:
I wonder if the toothpaste you used was Crest Pro Health?
This particular toothpaste contains STANNOUS fluoride.
Stannous fluoride is not a fluoride I recommend because it stains teeth just like this!

SODIUM fluoride hardens teeth without any staining. ACT bubblegum flavor is the best choice for kids I would suggest dabbing some on with a q-tip after cleaning teeth before bed.

I would suggest Spiffies tooth wipes for cleaning teeth. You can go to and order some they come in a variety of flavors. You won’t need to do the spiffies for long possibly a couple of months just to get enough xylitol directly onto these teeth. This will help put minerals back into the damaged areas.

Don’t worry about the staining for now worry about hardening up the teeth (without staining them any more). Later it will be possible for your dentist to polish off the stains but harden the teeth for at least 6 months first.

I would suggest taking xylitol in other ways. A little xylitol (about a teaspoon) on fruit or on cereal each day for example. Some kids like a drink just a half-teaspoon in a glass of water once a day. You only need 6.5 grams each day one and a half teaspoons to change everything!

I will send you some kid’s gum for her to tr just chew it for a couple of minutes after meals or drinks to safely clean her teeth and help to REPAIR the cavities naturally.

I would discontinue any stannous fluoride treatments or supplements. There is no reason to EAT or ingest fluoride this is not WHY you daughter has these marks on her teeth.

Once you have things under control I would suggest using crest regular toothpaste to clean her teeth ( It has sodium fluoride). You would use only a very little (the size of a pea) on a clean toothbrush.

I would be delighted to talk on the phone ( no charge) if this would help. Also let me have your address and I will send you samples of Zellies products to try.

Don’t worry this is nothing you have done wrong. It is a series of events that happened. The best news is that this will not damage her adult teeth and with xylitol her dental problems will be under control in an effective and delicious way!

Take care, I hope this helps,
Ellie Phillips DDS
Dental Health for Everyone!
26, Corporate Woods,
Rochester NY 14623

***Many blog entries are from emails send to Dr. Ellie, and her responses to those emails. For the purpose of this blog, we remove names, other personal information, and edit some content. ****

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