Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Parenting Fail: Alternately Titled Cottage Cheese Teeth

This is second in a series of sponsored posts for The Motherhood's SweetSmart campaign.

So, let me tell you about one of my more recent parenting failures. It involves my son and his dental habits. I thought we had resolved our issues back when we bought him the Sonicare for Kids, but I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

About a month ago, he lost one of his last baby teeth. It was on the upper right side of his mouth. A few days later, we were talking and I noticed his breath was terrible.


"Holy cow, your mouth stinks! Did you brush your teeth today?"


"Yes."


"Well, go swish some mouthwash and brush extra tonight at bedtime."


The next day, it was the same thing. His breath was awful. Rather than swish I made him brush his teeth. Much protesting ensued and he insisted he had already brushed that morning. 

For a week, Tyler would talk to me, his breath would knock me over and I'd send him off to brush. Finally, I figured I needed to take charge and see if I could figure out what was happening in there.

We went into the bathroom at bedtime. I sat on the toilet lid so I could have a birdseye view.


"Alright, open up and tilt your head back. Let's see what's going on in there."


And then I almost threw up.


It looked like each tooth on the right side of his mouth was covered in yellow cottage cheese. The plaque was so thick I couldn't see enamel.


I got out my dental pick and started scraping. I wiped the plaque onto a piece of toilet paper so he could see it. I told him that growing pile was leftover food.


"Why didn't you brush that side?"


"After my tooth fell out, it hurt to brush over the hole so I just stopped."


Okay, then.

By the time I finished scraping and flossing, I swear there was enough plaque to make a small scale model of a tooth. We had another long talk about brushing, flossing and using mouthwash. 


I told him when he loses his last baby tooth, he can't not brush but to go back the the manual toothbrush on that side until his gums aren't tender. We talked about occasionally swishing with a mixture of warm water, mouthwash and hydrogen peroxide. 

Even though our son is 10, apparently he still needs supervision for basic things. I was hoping we have reached the point in his life where I can count on him to wash his own face, brush his own hair, clip his own nails and not arbitrarily decide to stop brushing half his teeth, but obviously, leaving him to own devices is not a good idea. I will never be able to clean the image of his furry teeth from my brain. 

Still, at least we have the tools to keep his mouth healthy. Many families so not and their children really suffer. Read on to learn a few fact about pediatric dental disease and then please leave me one of your recent parenting fails so I don't feel quite so bad!
 

Statistics from America's Tooth Fairy.org:
*An estimated 17 million children in America go without dental care each year.

*Pediatric dental disease is 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever.

* 44% of American children will suffer from pediatric dental disease before they reach kindergarten.

*4.5 million children develop pediatric dental disease every year.

*Pediatric dental disease is a primary reason for emergency room visits in children.

*Left untreated, pediatric dental disease can lead to malnourishment, bacterial infections, required emergency surgery, and even death.

*Dental disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, poor pregnancy outcomes, and dementia.


This post is sponsored by The Motherhood. I received products from Johnson and Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNeil PPC as part of the Listerine Smart Rinse Sweet Smart Challenge.

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