Ray Wagner, M.D., who invented Spiffies, notes that "tooth decay is a real threat, even for babies." The bacteria that cause decay are transmitted to infants through kissing or when parents and siblings share spoons or pacifiers. "Stopping the bacteria during infancy puts kids on the path to a lifetime of good oral health," Dr. Wagner says. Research confirms that xylitol and Spiffies reduce tooth decay.
Spiffies should be used two to three times daily – after meals and especially before bed. "Those long sleep hours promote bacterial growth," Dr. Wagner notes. "Parents should start cleaning baby's gums at four months, continue with Spiffies wipes as the first front teeth come in, and then transition to brushing as molars appear. Also, be sure to schedule baby's first dentist visit by age one." Parents should also regularly examine their children's gums and teeth. The first sign of a cavity is a chalky white spot on the tooth, usually at the gum line.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association recommend treating teething discomfort with gentle finger massage, and starting daily oral hygiene when teeth emerge. Grape- or apple-flavored Spiffies are available in Buy Buy Baby stores and online at Amazon and Walmart.