Babies and Root Canals

Hi Dr. Ellie,

My son is 21 months old and we took him for his first dental visit about two weeks ago. The dentist found a number of cavities and suggested fillings for most of them, but said she would have to do a baby root canal on one and put a crown on it. This seems like a lot for a one year old. We are going to get a second opinion, but I am wondering if you have any suggestions for
other routes we can take. We brush his teeth twice a day (although he fights us tooth and nail), and we have a pretty healthy diet. He doesn’t eat candy, and doesn’t really like juice, so he mostly drinks water. Any advice you can give would be so helpful.

Thank you so much,

Hi Tamika,

This must be very disappointing for you. I am sorry that you have such a rough start for your son and his teeth. Let’s get to work to protect his adult teeth and end this problem for life!

I have a link to a short booklet that you may find useful:
and other information you may want to look through:

Your child may have been infected by aggressive cavity-forming bacteria. These can travel from adult mouths, from toothbrushes or even from children at day care. The answer is to rid his mouth of harmful bacteria which sounds like a chore but it is easy! A teaspoon and a half of sweet, natural and healthy xylitol will take away these bad bacteria !

You can decide the best way for your son to eat or drink the xylitol. Try and have him consume a little at the end of a meal, snack or drink, four or five times a day. Make sure he consumes some after every drink (even water).

He can either eat some xylitol or drink a xylitol drink. Some kids will eat xylitol off a spoon, or you could make up some xylitol in water to keep as a special treat! You want to aim for him to have about one to two teaspoons of xylitol each day.

I would not fight to brush his teeth. Do as much as you can but it is impossible to remove plaque bacteria with a toothbrush. Xylitol will do a better job if you keep using it over six months. sells a xylitol tooth wipe which is another way to apply xylitol to the mouth of a young child.

I wonder what kind of toothpaste you are using? I would advise to put a drop of ACT bubblegum rinse on his toothbrush and use this in place of toothpaste for a year or so. Then, Crest Original would be my recommendation under supervision to make sure he does not eat it!

Always make sure you keep family toothbrushes as clean as possible and away from the toilet area of the bathroom store them dry and uncovered. A little Listerine can help you clean them:

You and your husband (and any other adults with whom your son has regular contact) should consider “xylitol cleaning” your mouths or you will simply spread the infection back to him.

Let me know if I can help any other way, Ellie

Ellie Phillips DDS
Dental Health for Everyone!

Categories: Uncategorized


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