Tuesday 26 April 2011


Why does no one warn you about toddlers and teeth? I thought teething happened to tiny babies, a bit of bonjela, plenty of cuddles, and teething would be a couple of days of pain and over and done with. How wrong can one person be?

Joseph had the first signs of teething at 6 months, loads of dribble, being unsettled, and grumpy. I found the array of teething measures quite daunting, and the first sign that teething may not, for some babies at least, be the simple process I thought it would be.

Joseph didn't get his first tooth until just before his first birthday. He now has thirteen, that's around a tooth a month! Joseph is a dreadful teether, I now use nurofen and calpol at night when its bad. The homeopathic teething granules (or "baby crack" as my friends call it) that I used to rely on now no longer works. I don't tend to use bonjela or other teething gels anymore, as Joseph's jaw resembles that of a Tasmanian devil, once he latches, he doesn't let go!

As well as "normal" teething symptoms, when its bad, Joseph gets a runny nose. At night this becomes "post nasal drip" that horrible liquid that drips down the back of your throat. In Joseph it causes "confusional arousal" and night terrors, which are horrendous, and go on for hours. Keeping on top of the teething pain, and managing the snot with a saline spray seem to help. No one ever warns you about just how much snot a small person can produce!!! Or the varying shades of green in which it comes!

The other thing, is teeth brushing. I started brushing Joseph's teeth as soon as the first one appeared, so you would think that after a year of twice a day brushing, he'd be used to it, not so. Until recently I have felt like a WWE wrestler, pinning Joseph down whilst attempting to get the brush in his mouth.

All this changed when we were away in Australia. In England I use an adult toothpaste. Our area has absolutely no fluoride in the water, so it is advised by our local NHS Trust dental advisor that we use a toothpaste with an adult level of fluroide 1400ppm or thereabouts. In Australia the water is heavily flouridated, so I used a child's toothpaste specially formulated.

In Australia Joseph learned the word "teeth". He would scoot to the bathroom pointing and saying "teeth" and grabbing the toothbrush out of my hands, and brushing his own teeth, and allowing me to finish them off. No screaming, no chasing, and no Hulk Hogan moves on my part either. I thought it was just a change of environment, and perhaps being a good boy for the grandparents!

So once we got back to the UK, and back to using adult toothpaste, the nightmare begun again. I concluded that it must be the toothpaste! So the dilemma, use a lower fluoride toothpaste and have an easier life, or use the adult one, and risk not being able to brush effectively.

I decided to go on an adventure to our local supermarket and investigate. There were a number of children's toothpaste, and finally I found one! A supermarket own brand, with 1450ppm of fluoride. To my horror, I discovered it was "strawberry ice cream" flavour. Never in my life did I think I would be the type of mother to buy "ice cream" flavour toothpaste. But I did put it in my trolley, pay for it, and bring it home.

And you know what, we're back to "teeth" pointing, smiling, and happily brushing teeth. If ice cream flavoured toothpaste is what it takes to make sure Joseph has the best start in happy, healthy teeth, then so be it!


  1. Hehe we have some of the strawberry ice cream flavour stuff, for my 11 year old step-son!!! (Don't blame me, blame his Dad!) I wouldn't want to have to start using it on Babyzoid either, but sometimes you just have to go with what works. You can wean him off it later!


  2. That's what I figured, better to use strawberry toothpaste, and have to wean him off it, than for him to have no teeth to worry about! One of the girls in our street has lost all her teeth due to drinking coke from infancy!

  3. Honestly I wouldn't dream of using an adult toothpaste on a child - for two reasons: the really strong, stinging, eye-watering "mint" flavour (no wonder he doesn't like it) and because we're told not to use it until a child can spit properly. That amount of fluoride might be okay for teeth, but it's not meant to be ingested. We use Snappy Jaws strawberry flavour and the Weleda one. Snappy Jaws contains xylitol which is meant to have great teeth saving properties without being a deadly evil like fluoride. Even with those I only use the tiniest smudge on a toothbrush. I'm always amazed when they say to use a "pea sized" amount for kids. Poor kids, I'd only use about 1/3 of a pea size even for myself.

  4. Oh and commiserations for having a difficult teether :( A got her teeth without even a whisper except with some molars she mentioned once that her teeth were sore. J seems a bit distressed by his (grizzly, off his food), but nothing compared with Joseph. It must be really hard for both of you!

  5. In Oz there was heaps more choice, it doesn't appear we can get Snappy Jaws, and on their website the Weleda one doesn't say how much fluoride is in it, its such a pain not having fluoridated water.

    Our dental nurse says to use the an amount equivalent to the babies little fingernail, just a smear!