Do you ever feel like giving up on being a good parent? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure this is a rant I need to let out but just wondering if anyone else gets exhausted by always trying to do the "right" thing and still ending up in the same or worse situation than everybody else anyway. 

I make sure my dd eats a super healthy diet, gets exercise everyday, etc. I muster up every drop of energy I can find to make sure I'm doing everything I can for her. We are a very holistic family. 

So knock me over dumbfounded when I get told my five year old has four cavities. Seriously, there are kids all around us eating nothing but pop tarts and gummy snacks all day and here's my kids who NEVER eats that crap and brushes every night without fail and yet somehow she's the one who ends up with bad teeth. I still have no idea what I'm going to do but I'm starting to feel like what's the point.

I spend endless hours researching, living against the norm or mainstream, to find what should be the better way, the healthier way, and it still doesn't pay off. 

I'm so exhausted. I mean really really exhausted. I try so hard and I still feel like I'm failing her. So what's the point? Maybe we should just do whatever we want and eat whatever we want and just have fun all the time since we're not getting any benefit from doing things the way we are now!


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#2 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 07:53 AM
 
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I know what you mean. I've been there. Somehow I just couldn't let go and do things the mainstream way, though. And for the most part, it has worked very well for us.

Cavities are caused, I read, by bacteria. I also read that supporting the immune system and keeping properly hydrated are key to preventing them.

Also, sometimes dentists say there are cavities when they need/want money. I read an article about that in Reader's Digest several years ago. If you are not sure, get a second opinion.
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#3 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 08:33 AM
 
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Re: the cavity thing - my call is that it is also inborn. Of my 2 youngest, one has terrible teeth, and the other has never had a cavity (at 17!). I assure you, they have the same diet, and I have taught them the same hygiene habits. If anything, the one with good teeth eats more sweets than the other! I think my input (other than genetic) has little to do with this.

 

But I get that that was just an example of the overall feeling of discouragement you are feeling. Yes, parenting can be without guideposts, and certainly without "results". When do you ever get a moment to sit back and admire your success? Just when you think you have gotten over the current obstacle, the next one looms into view. We need to feel responsible; we must try our best as parents. But I don't think we have nearly as much control over life as we would like to believe.

 

Think of the adults you know IRL. What were their childhoods like? If you are like most people I ask this question of, some of the "best" people (loving, happy, healthy, successful, responsible, whatever) had utterly rotten early lives. And some real losers had every possible advantage. I have never found a direct correlation between upbringing and outcome.

 

That doesn't mean I am suggesting not trying. We, as loving, responsible parents, will always give it 100%, try to make the best decisions, to offer our kids every advantage we can imagine. But don't beat yourself up when the results aren't exactly what you expected.
 

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#4 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 09:11 AM
 
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Yep.  I did *ALL THE RIGHT THINGS* and my daughter at 4 yrs old had 7 cavities.  SEVEN.  She never freaking ate sugar and she had that many!  My mom is a freaking dental hygienist, for goodness sakes.  I knew the drill.  And now, my older son has a ton, too.  So then I read this book which is based on the work of weston a. price: http://www.curetoothdecay.com/ and realized that probably all the whole grains and oatmeal my kids ate were the wrong thing to do.  And then I just felt mad that I was being fed this line of crap that doesn't work from dentists and the government.  Honestly, I had to sit through the "you're a bad parent" look and the "so, tell us, honestly, how much junk food they eat?" when I DID EVERYTHING "RIGHT". 

 

Anyway, so after that we went (mostly) paleo/primal.  Turns out my kids (and I!) are gluten sensitive, though we wouldn't have known it otherwise.  My daughter had had her teeth filled, but my son's cavities have stayed about the same for a year (which, apparently, is very uncommon in baby teeth - they tend to go fast, I guess), but then this summer at camp the camp kept giving them candy and though he ate less than half of what he was given (I offered to pay him for whatever was left), at least one of his cavities is a disaster and we're going to go have it filled.

 

Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there :)  Good luck!


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#5 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 09:58 AM
 
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I've BTDT with the cavities.  My DD was found to have at least 8 cavities when she was 4, even though we brushed and flossed her teeth regularly, and every time she'd seen the dentist before that we were told that her teeth looked great and we were doing a great job taking care of them.  My brother and his wife are way more lax with tooth brushing - letting their kids brush their own teeth with no help from an early age, almost never flossing.  I'm sure their kids eat more sugar, too.  But their kids have never had a cavity.  My DS (who is 6 now) has never had a cavity either.  Who knows why DD got so many?  It didn't make me feel like giving up, but it was frustrating and embarrassing.  Anyway, your DD may have gotten cavities, but I'm sure she's getting plenty of benefits from her healthy lifestyle.  And maybe if she ate more sugar and didn't brush regularly, she'd have even more cavities.  Maybe she was born with bad teeth and you've minimized the damage.

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#6 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 12:40 PM
 
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We are crazy about teeth and dental hygiene in our family and like others mentioned, I was beyond shocked when our DS had a cavity at 4yo.  DS never got sugary treats of any sort, no soda, no juices (except at breakfast) and so on.  Two things I learned from his dentist is "sticky" good snacks can be just as bad as sugar when it comes to causing cavities and that some kids have crazy tight teeth (like my DS) and that makes it very, very hard to get the food out even with careful brushing and flossing.


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#7 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 05:58 PM
 
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Yes. I think this. I want to do this. Let's do whatever we want, eat whatever we want, and have fun all the time. I am sick of being so sad and tired and serious and homework-enforcing. 

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Originally Posted by ilovemygirl View Post
I'm so exhausted. I mean really really exhausted. I try so hard and I still feel like I'm failing her. So what's the point? Maybe we should just do whatever we want and eat whatever we want and just have fun all the time since we're not getting any benefit from doing things the way we are now!

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#8 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 06:21 PM
 
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I think it's a crapshoot with teeth. For instance, my mother didn't take me to the dentist until I was about 8 or something. I didn't brush my teeth or floss. I had no cavities, and still have had none at 28. I mean, sure, I don't eat much sugar, but wtf.

 

Also, all 4 of my wisdom teeth were impacted. We didn't pay to have them removed. Ten years and some toothaches later, my wisdom teeth have straightened out on their own. Go figure.

 

My teeth are ridick yellow, and a bit crooked, but totally strong and cavity-free. I think it's my genes. My dad smoked for most of his life, didn't go to the dentist for about 30 years, and still has no cavities.

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#9 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 06:23 PM
 
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Yes. I think this. I want to do this. Let's do whatever we want, eat whatever we want, and have fun all the time. I am sick of being so sad and tired and serious and homework-enforcing. 


I love that this came from "captain optimism" ROTFLMAO.gif


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#10 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 06:40 PM
 
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Do I ever feel like giving up...some days I do!  I try the best I can for healthy living, and I am envious of those of you who have achieved it far beyond what I have managed to do (partly my fault, partly fighting the unhealthy habits of my husband).  My husband is fun, gives them Gatorade, Sprite, buys candy almost every trip to town. He is a live-for-today type. I am the prepare-for-tomorrow.  Kids have never had a cavity (age 6 and 4).  We don't do a great job of monitoring, but they do brush every night. I think it is genetic luc of the draw.  I agree that the good you are doing is beyond just oral health, but also their immune systems, clear-thinking brains, fully-functioning bodies!  I am in awe of what you have accomplished.  Yet, (please don't throw virtual tomatoes at me), sometimes you do have to just have some fun and make some care-free memories.  A good friend of mine (a Holistic Health Counselor) says to shoot for 80% good and let the other 20% go to keep your sanity (she also has the unsupportive husband issue!).  Good luck.  Have a good depressed night and eat something naughty like dark chocolate.  Then start again tomorrow!

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#11 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 06:46 PM
 
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Well, if it's genetic... My husband and I both have/had very few cavities - none until we were teenagers... and both never needed braces.  Shouldn't our kids follow suit, if it's genetic?


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#12 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 09:13 PM
 
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I love that this came from "captain optimism" ROTFLMAO.gif

 

Hey, you gotta fake it 'til you make it. 

 

I've always been a big, anxious overthinker. That's why, when I was pregnant with my son, I picked that name. 

 

If there's anything I want to be optimistic about, it's him. 


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#13 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 11:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ilovemygirl View Post
I'm starting to feel like what's the point.

I spend endless hours researching, living against the norm or mainstream, to find what should be the better way, the healthier way, and it still doesn't pay off. 

 

 

 

hug2.gif  You sound tired.

 

In the grand scheme of things, 4 cavities isn't that big of a deal. It sounds like you are feeling like all the effort you put in was for nothing because of the cavities. You are globalizing, taking one small bad thing and turning it into everything.

 

What I've decided is that there isn't much point in *me* doing something because of what it is supposed to cause in the future. None of this is guaranteed. For example, the reason to feed my kids healthy foods isn't so that they will be the perfect weight, or prevent all disease, or have good teeth. I fed them healthy foods today because I'm being the best parent I know how to be because I love them. They may be heavy, or get sick, or have a cavity. But because I love them, I feed them healthy foods. Because I love them, I'll be with them as they go through the various things that go wrong in life.

 

I think that starting and ending the day with love, and accepting whatever else happens is the path of peace *for me.*  Love covers a lot for me.

 

Right now you it sounds like you are working yourself into the ground trying to be perfect so that her life will be perfect. That won't really work. First, no one is perfect. Second, even if you could be perfect, stuff would still go wrong in her life. She would still have challenges. Part of our job is to help our kids learn to deal with life when things go wrong, not to try to devise their lives so that they never have hardships.

 

As far as failing her, you gotta lighten up on yourself or you will drive yourself bonkers. Does your child feel safe? Does she know she is unconditionally loved? Then count it a good day and spend a little time tomorrow doing something with her just because it is fun and lets you guys enjoy each other.

 

I'm not knocking doing the "right" things, I'm just suggesting to doing them out of love for your child in this moment, rather than with the expectation that they guarantee a specific outcome. 

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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#14 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 11:34 PM
 
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I think what has helped me the most is to realize at some point I just need to do what works for me and my family regardless of what else is out there.  I don't have time to research every possible menu option and cook elaborate meals, so I do my best to have home-cooked meals and incorporate lots of fruit and veggies.  And it works.  If I focus on having the "perfect" menu plan I get too stressed out and we end up eating more junk.  The same thing goes with other areas.  Co-sleeping just doesn't work for me.  So I don't do it.  And I don't feel any grief about it either.  My kids need a well-rested mom and not co-sleeping allows me to take better care of them during waking hours.  These are just a few examples.  The list can go on and on.  The point is to focus on what you CAN do and what works for you--not what works for people online or what you read in a book.  You don't need to be perfect, you simply keep trying to improve things little by little without wearing yourself out on unnecessary (in the big picture) details.  Your kids and family need you, not you imitating others.

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#15 of 29 Old 09-04-2012, 11:44 PM
 
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The teeth thing is really random and often genetic I think. I have terrible teeth. Like absolutely terrible, and for no apparent reason. Same with my mom. And no amount of flossing, avoiding sugar, etc has ever seemed to make a bit of difference. But like someone else said, a few cavities in and of themselves aren't a huge deal really. 

 

And I think that sometimes we expect to much of ourselves as parents and get frustrated by things we don't have power over when we try so hard. So my kinda basic parenting/life philosophy is somewhere along the lines of: do things "good" as much as I can, without it making me unhappy. Eat healthy and get exercise. But sometimes, take a break and get a treat. Healthy living is important, but its defeating the point if it makes you miserable. Do what you can for you and your family to be healthy and happy, even if that means slacking off and not always doing things "right". 

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#16 of 29 Old 09-05-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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Well, if it's genetic... My husband and I both have/had very few cavities - none until we were teenagers... and both never needed braces.  Shouldn't our kids follow suit, if it's genetic?

 

Not necessarily, because that's not how genes work. For instance, your child could have inherited both your and your husband's recessive bad teeth genes!

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#17 of 29 Old 09-05-2012, 12:32 PM
 
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Just read this morning, on a site selling supplements, that omega -3 is important for strong teeth
Just thought I'd pass that along.
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#18 of 29 Old 09-05-2012, 02:47 PM
 
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mama what about your needs? is your life completely revolving around your little girl?

 

i think you are aiming too high.

 

your needs about you (not your family) need to be taken care of too.

 

in time like us all you will realise - it is what it is. you can only do the best that you can with what you have access to.

 

you HAVE to come to that conclusion or you will drive yourself crazy.

 

EVERYTHING is not a priority.

 

figure out what is your priority. what matters most to you. what are you not going to budge on. and go from there.

 

from the day dd was born my no. 1 priority was taking care of her emotional health. at any cost. if that meant eating icecream for bfast at almost 3 then so be it (she always ate her regular bfast after that anyways). if that meant drinking an ounce of watered down soda at 18 months (that was a hard one to give up and looking back in retrospect i am glad i removed my boundary around that. her gains were phenomenal life changing) so be it.

 

never live against. that is surely an energy sucker. instead live for. the more you fight the more you get exhausted.

 

and the clincher. at some point you realise that mainstream is not that big a devil as you thought it was. its just another group of parents doing the best they can for their children and themselves. you may still differ - but they are human beings too.

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#19 of 29 Old 09-05-2012, 06:10 PM
 
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Yup, I have this feeling sometimes too. It is exhausting at times, especially with people saying this is best or the total opposite is best, etc. I try to just do my best and it will have to be good enough. 


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#20 of 29 Old 09-06-2012, 10:10 AM
 
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I don't have the specific tooth decay issue, but I can relate to the feeling of "why bother"? It really comes up strong when I am exhausted. I have learned that I must. get. sleep. MUST GET SLEEP. On days when I am run-down, my whole life seems like a failure. Once I get some sleep, things start feeling manageable again. So, at least I've learned to say to myself, "I'm not a failure, I'm just exhausted. I must get sleep."

 

Of course, knowing that I need sleep and getting it are two different things! DD is almost 4, and she has resisted sleep for her entire life! And I have developed some insomnia issues. But I am constantly working on figuring out how to get more & better sleep because it does make all the difference in the world.

 

Good luck, mama. I hope you find a way to feel less exhausted and more joyful on your parenting journey.


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#21 of 29 Old 09-08-2012, 10:15 AM
 
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I'm fairly certain that teeth were designed for the sole purpose of slowly driving us insane. I had great teeth as a kid: no braces, white, some cavities but nothing catastrophic. My childhood dentist did point out to my mother and I that I had exceptionally "groovy" teeth, which greatly contributed to more cavities. A dentist I had as an adult said that some cavities occur b/c grooves on the biting surface can be smaller than one brush bristle, so there is no way to clean out the plaque or bacteria. This just happens, nothing one can do about it. Maybe one's saliva is more germ-killing, or another's diet is less sticky, so bad things don't happen to them *shrug*

 

My teeth have always been prone to breaking, starting at around age 12. My mother didn't believe me when I told her there was "something" massively wrong w/ one of my baby molars & my dentist *never noticed it*. The hell? It never hurt, it was just gross, and eventually fell out. The irony is that the permanent tooth that came to take its place needed a crown at age 14. I just had yet another tooth painlessly break this week & the dentist bonded it together today (I'm 9 mos pg, can't get it super worked on yet). I've had 11 teeth root canaled. I brush every day w/a $100 dentist specialty electric brush. Floss every day & rinse w/ Listerine every day. Husband does the same thing. Doesn't matter, our teeth are still shit. I'm certain that we eat too much sugar (I always have). Still, even when taking a more natural route to dental health, things went downhill (more rapidly, actually). I don't even bother about it anymore, just wait for the day I can get dentures :)

 

{{{hugs}}}, mama. We do the best we can and it's still sometimes not enough *sigh*


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#22 of 29 Old 09-12-2012, 09:01 AM
 
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in my situation, healthy foods, rare junk, but a 100 pound 10 year old. the asshole family doc said, in front of her, stop drinking sodas and be more active so you  can impress the boys at your prom. wtf??? besides trying to raise my girls to not give a duck about "impressing boys", 1.soda/junk is rare for her and 2.the only time she is inactive is in her sleep and sometimes at school! she's a star softball player, runs and jumps around *all the time*. she now thinks she is fat and it breaks my heart. her legs are hard as a rock. (that doc is gone and her current doc is big and goofy.)

 

besides a healthy diet, i have a child with allergies who was breastfed, and had a horribly clingy non-sleeping unhappy AP baby. i know how it feels to say, "why bother?" also when you tried to raise kids gently, and they turn 15 and sneak/lie, it doesn't help :/


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#23 of 29 Old 09-12-2012, 11:43 AM
 
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i know how it feels to say, "why bother?" also when you tried to raise kids gently, and they turn 15 and sneak/lie, it doesn't help :/

THAT is teh true test of parenting. you know its not THEM. its the evil hormones in the body. THAT's when you hang in there and keep your mouth SHUT - meaning no emotional outbursts and degrading your child.

 

coz sometimes in their 20s they realise, and feel terrible and come home.

 

and then you have your baby and you go and 'worship' your mama for all that she did - no matter how big or small her mistakes were. 

 

i have walked this exact path and i know it. the worst thing i have ever done is make my mom cry when i was a teen. to date i regret that and no matter what i do, i can never forgive myself for that. 

 

however my parents were AP. they both taught me to NEVER ever GIVE up on parenting. no matter what. and i can say with conviction - even if my dd becomes the next serial killer, i will be there for her always visiting her in prison. 


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#24 of 29 Old 09-13-2012, 08:22 PM
 
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Lately, I've been telling my kids that if something optional isn't fun for me, I don't do it. That means whining about wanting a sweet snack? Not gonna happen. Asking nicely, and behaving like kids who can sit and chat or read in a starbucks? Sure, sounds great, let's go! Of course, EVERYTHING can't be something I'm going to enjoy doing (like getting home today, which was a nightmare) or hard parenting lessons, but day to day should be fun or at least non-stressful, or else I need to change something up. That's my goal now, anyway. Is it a happy time or memorable though challenging situation? Do we absolutely have to do it? If no to both, bow out!


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#25 of 29 Old 09-21-2012, 09:16 AM
 
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For me, it's become a matter of just doing the next "right" thing and redefining what it means to me to be a "good" parent. A "good" parent can have kids with cavities. A "good" parent is a human who has human children, which means that none of us are perfect.

 

Note that this doesn't mean just taking an "it's all good" attitude and doing whatever. Although sometimes, that is the next "right" thing to do...
 

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#26 of 29 Old 09-29-2012, 07:32 PM
 
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I agree with a lot of the "let it go" advice, but I wanted to throw it out there that when you've done everything "right" and the results have been decidedly non-optimal, then logically what you were told was "right" is possibly not so much.  Or, not exactly.

 

I was raised by a dentist and a dental nurse (now called hygienists).  They were rabid about dental health.  They raised me and my sisters on organic vegetables, wild game, and while we did eat grains, my mom made all our bread and soaked the grains beforehand.  And, despite my parents having crappy teeth (my father had lost all his upper teeth and several of his lower by the time we came along and my mom's mouth was riddled with fillings and root canals) my sisters and I are now 40, 38 and 36 and we have exactly zero cavities between us.  So genetics CAN be overcome with diet.  But the trick is, it has to be the right diet, and I think that is more individual than we've been led to believe, even by more enlightened folks like Weston Price.

 

Tooth decay isn't exactly caused by bacteria - it's caused by bacteria eating through tooth enamel.  That happens when enamel isn't replaced fast enough or is persistently thin, usually from birth.  That happens when there's insufficient mineral content in the diet or in the body due to insufficient absorption, or insufficient ability of the body to make enamel from what it's got.  I don't think there's been enough study on the latter two to say definitively what the answers are there, but insufficient absorption can be caused by gut irritants leading to leaky guts.  And those gut irritants can be almost anything, but the big culprits are grains, dairy and excess omega-6 fatty acids - as far as the research goes NOW.

 

What I'm getting at is that the advice to simply eat whole foods and avoid sugar is just not sufficient for your kid - but whether you'd be able to figure out what's missing or causing problems is a whole 'nother story.  And while generally, a strict paleo diet with none of the culprits would probably do a lot to stem any further decay, it's hard to do that and you'd have to ask yourself what matters most to your family.   The cavities aren't your fault, and while there are people out there who would see this as a challenge and turn themselves inside out figuring out HOW to fix their kid's enamel problem... that's a hobby in itself.  If, as it sounds, you are kind of done with this issue, then just be okay with that!  It's all right!  As someone else said, 4 cavities is hardly the end of the world.   Probably you did great limiting it to just 4.

 

Parenting seems to be all about picking your battles.  If this is one you want to pick, great - that's your choice.  If not, that's okay too. 

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#27 of 29 Old 09-29-2012, 07:52 PM
 
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We have had struggles with teeth too. DS needed his first dental surgery at 2 and had another this year. His front teeth are all capped, he has 2 crowns, and has had to have 1 tooth extracted. I was devastated. We BF for 3.5 years, he doesn't drink juice, not a lot of junk, overall, pretty healthy diet. We found a great pediatric dentist who knew it wasn't diet related because only his top teeth are like this, the bottom teeth are prefect. He said that DS had demineralization and that it may be linked to my morning sickness during pregnancy. I lost 10 lbs in the first trimester because I couldn't keep anything down. He said he has seen numerous patients with this same issue that also had terrible morning sickness.


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#28 of 29 Old 10-12-2012, 08:13 PM
 
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Everyone has pretty great advice for dealing with the 'why bother?' feelings, but I wanted to say that I really get the whole guilt trip the dentist lays on! I have had go rounds with the dentist because I refuse fluoride and they try to convince me my kids have cavities WITHOUT doing xrays and no visible signs of cavities because of my refusal. It's pretty ridiculous really. For a long time my kids had no cavities, but now one kid gets them and the dentist really lays the guilt trip on. Well, I know I am doing the best I can and have valid reasons for not doing fluoride, so they can just bite me! Sometimes, you just have to take stuff with a grain of salt.

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#29 of 29 Old 10-13-2012, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queenofchaos View Post

Everyone has pretty great advice for dealing with the 'why bother?' feelings, but I wanted to say that I really get the whole guilt trip the dentist lays on! I have had go rounds with the dentist because I refuse fluoride and they try to convince me my kids have cavities WITHOUT doing xrays and no visible signs of cavities because of my refusal. It's pretty ridiculous really. For a long time my kids had no cavities, but now one kid gets them and the dentist really lays the guilt trip on. Well, I know I am doing the best I can and have valid reasons for not doing fluoride, so they can just bite me! Sometimes, you just have to take stuff with a grain of salt.

 

You know that's interesting. I never even thought they might be lying but they might. My dh took her and they didn't do x-rays and last time we were there (maybe 8 or 9 months before) they told me everything was great. 

I've been looking for someone to give me a second opinion anyway so maybe I'll get lucky and they were full of it to begin with...


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