Monday, 26 January 2009

Teeth are EVIL

I hate teeth. There I said it. Loose teeth, losing teeth, loosing a tooth in an apple, tying a tooth to a doorknob, dentist offices, dentist smells, drills...I hate it all - they give me the creeps. So you can imagine how much fun I have when it's that time for a trip to the dentist...or even more so when it is Mason's turn to go to the dentist.

My kid loves the dentist. He loves teeth. He is absolutely thrilled that there is a possibility he will get a loose tooth this year. He has a collection of toothbrushes - a collection. He brushes religiously and loves going to the dentist.

Yes, I am the weirdo parent that takes
pictures of their child's x-rays...that's
how I roll.

Last week it was Mason's turn to visit the worst place in the world dentist's chair. The visit went really well, the dentist praised him on how well he brushed. Just when he was busy swishing and spitting, the dentist grew devil horns and glared at me.... "You're child has the beginnings of a cavity".


My baby, the child obsessed with toothbrushes and toothpaste but no so much with Mr. Floss...has the beginning of a cavity which most likely will have to be filled. Oh no, it doesn't end there though. She then told me there were a few other spots she was concerned about so she was sending him to a pediatric dentist. I felt like the absolute worst mother in the world about now, and as if she couldn't make me feel like any more of an ass - she told me there were other "demineralizations" - all in between his molars which may or may not have to be fixed at some point in time. So of course I went home and bawled my eyes out like a baby - but man, was that ever a wake-up call. Flossing is just something that can easily be skipped. Anything that involves my child dancing around like a chimpanzee threatening to tell his Grandma I am mean to him is an easy way to avoid that task.


So now we are avid flossers, and as much as he hates it, I told him having holes in his teeth is much worse than sticking a little piece of string between your teeth. We are cutting back on the sweets - not completely taking away - just cutting back. Another thing we are trying is to drink more tap water. You know how you are told to avoid tap water like the plague? Yeah well apparently kids should drink tap water to get the flouride - something I just learned from the dentist. Mason never drank tap water...I was always told it was bad and you see so much on the news about tap water being bad...well it's good for your teeth. Go figure.


When they told me my baby would have to have his tooth, and possibly teeth, repaired, I was absolutely devastated, but the thought crossed my mind, why does she care so much about teeth that are going to fall out anyway? The fact is that baby teeth that are left to decay can easily be transferred to the adult teeth below. Not to mention some teeth have to stay there until the child is 12 years old, that is a long time to have to worry about a cavity. Teeth are important for a child's speech patterns, nutrition and overall social well-being....yes even pre-schoolers have to worry about their social lives ;)


According to Dr. Spock (http://www.dr.spock.com/) these are the best tips to follow when it comes to your todder/pre-schooler's teeth (teefers, toofies, chompers, or whatever you may call them):

*Diet and Nutrition - Do not allow your child to snack all day. Have the child sit down for a treat and then rinse or brush afterwards. Dr. Spock writes, "Allow for only one sugar snack a day and incorporate it after lunch or dinner. It is the frequency, as opposed to the quantity, of sugar that children consume each day that increases their risk for tooth decay".

*It is very important to supervise brushing. I read somewhere that brushing your teeth at the same time as your child can be really fun, but it also helps to pass that important 2 minutes quickly and also your child can learn some new brushing techniques. Dr. Spock says, "Most school-aged children do not have adequate coordination to clean many hard-to-reach spots in their mouths until they are approximately eight or nine years old"

* ...and of course last but not least, regular dental check-ups are extremely important. It's better to know than not to know what is going on in that mouth of theirs. As uncomfortable and smelly the dentist's office is, it is really the best thing to do in the battle against tooth decay.

By writing this out for you, I hope this serves as a reminder to brush and floss your little one's teeth. Learn from my mistakes. I still feel absolutely horrible about this but boy what a wake-up call! This is the part of life where you wish children came equipped with those imaginary instruction manuals that everybody asks about.

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