In 2018 when my daughter was five and a half months old, her first two pearly white teeth popped up in her lower gums. She looked so adorable and we were super excited.
A week or two later, her upper medial incisors erupted, and almost immediately, I could tell that these two teeth were not like the lower two. Their colour was slightly off, and the surface seemed more transparent than the opaque white bottom ones. I figured it was my imagination.
Soon other teeth came in and the upper two began almost immediately to show damage on their biting edges. I was horrified. I trawled the internet at 2am, searching for answers as to how this was possible. My breastfed baby who had not yet started eating solid food, was showing damage on her newly erupted teeth!
It wasn’t long before I found information about enamel hypoplasia. The more I read, the more upset I became. Enamel hypoplasia is a defect in the production of tooth enamel which has its origin before birth and has been attributed to a vast number of possible causes, none of which are 100% proven. One grandmother accused me of feeding my five-month-old baby too many sugary snacks (?) another mother suggested I give up breastfeeding (???) Which is the worst advice one could ever give to a mother.
The next few months were a chaotic scramble to figure out whose advice to take and who to ignore, and what would help strengthen and protect her teeth. I searched high and low for a toothpaste that would miraculously fix the problem overnight. Everything I found was loaded with fluoride. All the so-called “natural, harmless” toothpastes for children either had some form of “natural” fluoride, or they contained glycerine, which I had learned tends to coat the teeth and prevent the saliva from cleansing and remineralising them. I was at a loss. I brushed her tiny teeth with coconut oil and rubbed a weak baking soda solution on them after she had eaten fruit or foods with vinegar, which temporarily soften enamel, leaving them vulnerable to damage.
But I soon discovered that brushing was a big no-no. The way I learned this was when a large chunk of enamel came off on the toothbrush. My mommy heart broke and I felt desperate to find a solution. I bought the softest brush I could find, and used it only when there was actual food on her teeth. The rest of the time I would gently rub on whatever concoction we were testing out at the time, and pray. The upper parts of her teeth near the gumline had lost all their enamel, leaving the dentine visible and vulnerable. This actually happened right after we spent a crazy sum of money on a tube of what is supposedly the best remineralizing toothpaste on earth. EH moms will know which one I mean. I had high hopes that this exorbitantly priced toothpaste would solve all our problems, but her teeth literally lost their enamel almost overnight! (Cue mom hyperventilating in the bathroom, trying not to scream in frustration.)
I considered the option of capping her teeth, but was deterred after questioning other parents whose kids had undergone this. Many said the teeth broke off completely, some reported that once those teeth naturally fell out, the smell inside was revolting, indicating severe decay. This did not sound healthy or logical to me.
Then I found Olgani Mineral Rich Evening Toothpaste.
It tasted different to any toothpaste we had tried before, extremely salty and powerfully minty, with not even a trace of foam. I had been applying a calcium rich tooth mousse without much success, but after only a few days of Olgani Night toothpaste, applied morning and night with NO BRUSHING AT ALL, I started noticing something that looked like a miracle to me. The exposed dentine began to be filled in with something hard. Her appetite improved and I did a dance of joy, then cringed when I realised how sensitive her teeth must have felt before.
Zoe is almost four years old now, she still has all her teeth, although some of them are worn away and she has a few cavities, and of course the upper teeth are blotchy and discoloured. (We believe her upper lip tie is a contributing factor, but this is a tale for a different day.) Great toothpaste is obviously not a perfect solution. I use Lugol’s iodine on her teeth once a week to keep infections and decay at bay, she gets a daily dose of Vitamin K2 (the M7 form), Vitamin D3 liquid, a Zink and Vitamin C preparation for kids, tissue salts, green juice or a green juice powder, and we don’t do brushing like other people do. We use a super soft toothbrush and only brush when there is something to brush out. Gently smearing tooth products onto her teeth is often about the most I feel safe to do.
I recently took her to a highly recommended dentist to check out some cavities in her molars, and she was utterly amazed that this little girl still had all her teeth and had never broken one in almost three years of struggling with enamel hypoplasia. She encouraged me to continue doing everything I was currently doing, including breastfeeding and giving her healthy, phytate-rich vegetarian foods such as fruit, seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains, which most parents of kids with EH avoid like poison, due to tragic misinformation about phytate and phytic acid.
I felt validated and relieved that our efforts had paid off with above-average results, and I pray that her teeth will stay as strong and healthy as they can, until they are hopefully replaced with perfect adult teeth, as most kids with EH tend to experience. Fingers crossed!
I am so grateful to Olga, the founder of Olgani for her TRULY safe and effective tooth products, and more than that, for her attitude of respect and gratitude for the way nature works. Her products have changed my daughter’s life and saved her from a childhood filled with scary dental treatments. I know enamel hypoplasia is slightly different for each child and there are a multitude of factors involved, so no two children will react in the same way to the same regimen, but I encourage every parent of a child with EH to try Olgani Night Mineral Rich Evening Toothpaste as part of their child’s tooth care protocol. It’s so worth it.
A birth doula and online consultant
from Johannesburg, South Africa