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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just finished reading this disturbing article in my local newspaper about the (alleged) rise in tooth decay in the under six set.<br><br>
The dentist being interviewed cited pop and other sugary drinks as being the number one cause of decay, but then at the end of the article said something to the effect that parents were to blame because they refused to hold down their children and forcibly brush their teeth.<br><br>
Letting two year olds win was a phrase he used (don't have the article in front of me - I've just been thinking about it all day)<br><br>
I personally don't force the brushing issue. I try my best to make it attractive and fun and part of our routine, but under no circumstance would I forcibly brush my daughters' teeth.<br><br>
In my mind, this is a bodily integrity issue, and I never, ever want to teach my children that it's okay for someone to hold them down and do something against their will. Even as babies, if they cried or fussed over having their teeth brushed, I let it go.<br><br>
Neither one of my kids has ever had a cavity, although I recognize that genetics and diet have a big impact on that. I would say they brush one out of three days, and that's okay for me, at this age. I do my best to make it a frequent occurence, but like hair washing, I let them make decisions about what happens to their bodies.<br><br>
Gosh, they're called milk teeth for a reason, right?
 

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Well I would NEVER hold a child down to brush their teeth. I do expect them to brush every day and I make that known, but I am NOT going to enforce that expectation in any way and certainly not Physically.<br><br>
The ONLY time I would hold a child down would to do something to them would be if it were critically important for their immediate health.<br><br>
Like when my DD had her tonsils out and did not want to take her medicine (which would keep her hydrated, because if she did not take it she would not drink because it would hurt too much).<br><br>
I felt that at three in the morning after surgery my poor dd was no longer rational ennough to make any decision and I would have treated an adult in the same medical crisis the same way (assuming I had the physical ability to hold them down).
 

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I have had to hold both children down. I feel that it's one of those things that needs to be done. Holding them down to brush is much less scary than taking them to a dentist and being sedated or put into a papoose for dental work. One of my friends has a child who had dental work as a toddler (she's a bfing mom, no formula or sugary drinks) and it traumatized them both for a long time.<br><br>
My oldest eventually accepted tooth-brushing. My youngest has severe reflux and vomits and spits up frequently. For her it's very important to maintain good dental health as much as I can. She is tube-fed so her teeth don't have the advantage of getting food abrasion to help keep the plaque off. I had to cradle her head between my outstretched legs. She will now willingly open to brush and "helps" me with the job and will then chew on the brush afterwards. I did have to hold her down for awhile though.<br><br>
Nitara has been through so, so much. I just don't want to add a traumatic dental experience to her life. She's already orally aversive and chooses not to eat because she doesn't feel well. With her reflux the decay might just happen no matter what I do, but I can at least delay it and lessen it.<br><br>
I don't know how gentle or AP it is, but I guess it's like the diaper changing battles. It's just one of those things that needs to be done. You try the gentle methods but when those don't work, well you still have to clean and care for your child and you just get it over with as fast as possible.<br><br>
BTW . . I see a *lot* of infants and toddler in my area who have bottles full of kool-aid, full strength juice, and even soda. Once at CostCo I saw a mom actually dump the water out of her toddler's bottle and put Coke in it!! I don't know what the stats are on formula use the last 10 years or so, but if that's risen then maybe it's formula ("bottle mouth") causing the increase in tooth decay.<br><br>
My friend that I mentioned earlier, she had 3 kids, all of whom were bf for years. The middle child is the one with all the tooth problems. The other two are fine. I think it was just bad luck. But ever since those problems came she has forced her middle child to brush her teeth because she can't afford more dental care, and it was so very traumatic for her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We never had any diaper changing battles as both my daughters were diaper free, so may be that's tainted my view.<br><br>
I watched a friend hold her daugher down and wash her hair, and I was just appalled. It seemd like such a violation.<br><br>
Doesn't it feel completely wrong to do that?<br><br>
Just curious?
 

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If I let ds go diaper free I would be peed on every 10min all day long. He hates diaper changes and it's a fight most times. I try to distract him and make it fun, I try to sooth him, I try to get him involved. He just does not want to slow down to have his bottom changed. In the end I am holding down legs to keep from being kicked in the tummy, I am flipping him onto his back because he keeps flipping onto his front. What do ya do? Sometimes ya gotta hold em down to get the job done.<br><br>
I have never had to force the kids to brush their teeth though. I don't think that would go over so well. We don't brush ds's teeth very often because he just licks the brush and tried to chew on it. I will take a wash cloth and go over his teeth, but I won't force him if he doesn't want me to. Honestly, if his teeth don't get brushed within a day it's not going to hurt him at this point. However, a diaper rash will. Even with the girls. If they decide they don't want to brush their teeth, well when they can't stand the fuz any longer they will eventually brush. When they go to the dentist for their first cavity, that's probably when it will sink in that there's some truth to what I tell them. I don't feel like brushing my teeth some days. I have had many cavities filled, but not due to lack of brushing but rather genetics. My family produces excess plague no matter how many times a day I brush. I don't want them to resent brushing or feel it's a chore, I want them to realize it's just good hygene. The only time I will put my foot down and tell them to brush is when they have yucky breath
 

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We used to have to hold Haley down to brush her teeth and still have to "force" her to wash her hair (I don't hold her down but I do have to hold her hands so she doesn't knock the rinse container away) do I feel great doing it, no, but unfortunately it is a necessity. Her teeth need to be brushed (she is allowed juice and some sugary snacks) and her hair needs to be washed (she has long hair and she doesn't always want it up and so she gets food and other struff in it) Now she willingly brushes her teeth and then gives me a chance to do it to make sure all food particles are gone. She is getting better with hair washing and I try to make it as untraumatic as possible (waiting until the end, speaking very calmly and soothingly, doing it slowly, helping her tip her head back, only washing it every other day or so, etc) I also have to hold Rylie down to change her diaper...but you know what, it needs to be done and again I try to make it as untraumatic as possible (ising many of the same techniques I use for Haley and hair washing)<br><br>
They are baby teeth that will fall out, but having severe decay can lead to problems in permenant teeth
 

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I don't think that they're "just" milk teeth and that it's ok to let them rot. Primary teeth save the proper spaces for permanent teeth, they assist with feeding and they are necessary for proper speech development. The bacteria found in adults with gum disease have been implicated in both heart disease and preterm labor.<br><br>
I'd have thought that "letting the 2 year olds win" referred more to the sugary food and drinks rather than a nightly battle with the toothbrush.
 

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I've never forcibly diaper changed or washed hair, but yes, I"ve forcibly cleaned teeth. I've also forcibly held my child down for medical treatment and tests.<br><br>
These things are not remotely similar imo.<br><br>
As for how it feels, it is tough to force your child to do something, but sometimes it's part of being a responsible parent imo.<br><br>
It would feel far worse to hold my child down for unnecessary dental treatment, because I had followed some ideology.<br><br>
Reading about toddlers having dental work because their parents would not force them, here on mdc, made up my mind about this issue. I read some theads with mdc mums saying how they wished now that they'd forced the issue. I diidnt want it to get to that stage with my children.<br><br>
I've had to force the issue several times with both my dds, and still do occasionally with my 2 year old. As I brush, I talk to them gently and explain over and over that mama has to do this as I dont want them to get owies on their teeth.<br><br>
Anyway, I am very grateful to Smilemomma and other mums for their discussions on this issue a couple of years ago. Dd finally got her teeth checked last month, at four and a half (she had SID and it was very difficult for us to win her trust with a dentis) - but her teeth were fine. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
For anyone who is unsure about this issue, I suggest a search on the dental archives. Read about a few toddlers having dental treatment, and I think it will convince most of you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/clap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="clap"><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/tb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="brush"><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shine.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="toothy"><br><br>
Well done, Britishmum!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
(If you think toothbrushing is invasive, try multiple bone infections and general anesthesia ... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> )
 

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I have 5 sons and none have ever been bothered by getting their teeth brushed. It was just part of our bedtime schedule.<br><br>
This is an emotional topic for me. My oldest 2 boys, from my first marriage, have very strong, healthy teeth. Taylor is 16 and has never had a cavity even with 2+ years in braces. Keaton, at 15, has had one tiny speck that didn't even require lidocaine about 5 years ago. He has been in braces for over a year now. I brushed their teeth every night (except when they fell asleep before I could) and most mornings. My youngest 3 boys, from my current marriage, obviously have weaker teeth. Jack has had numerous fillings. He is 7 and his cavities began at age 4. Gage's teeth began to form cavities close to age 3. Hie cavities first fromed on the back of his upper teeth. 5 of them to be exact. Since then he has had 4 compositie fillings and a stainless steel crown. Caden, my youngest now 26 months, has cavities in 3 of his front, upper teeth. Unlike Gage, Caden's cavities are in the front of his teeth.<br><br>
I pay as much attention to my youngest boy's teeth as I did to my older boys...actually more attention the last few years. I have nursed my youngest 3 sons much longer than my first 2. I have yet to have a dentist tell me that nursing is the culprit. They have said that it could be helping the decay but not totally to blame for it.<br><br>
It was so stressful locating a pediatric dentist in our state that would do dental work on Gage in a manner which my dh and I felt comfortable with. I was shocked to discover how some pediatric dentist perform work on toddlers and young children. I was equally shocked with the idea of having my children completely anestitized in a hospital setting to have the work done. It took about 2 weeks of research and phone calls. I finally contacted the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and they lead me to the pediatric dentist that we now use. The dental work also needed to be covered by our dental insurance which was another tough opstical. We drive 3 hours to our pediatric dentist. He did a wonderful job on Gage's teeth and exhibited the tenderness and warmth that I had hoped for. I was equally as impressed with his assistant. She sat on a couch in the office with me for over 30 minutes while I asked her a million and one questions and shared all of my concerns. The dentist was very considerate of my fears and truly helped to ease them.<br><br>
Caden has an appointment this Friday for a check up and to get familiar with the office, techs, and dentist so he will hopefully be more comfortable on his next trip, when the actual dental work is performed. I tried showing Caden's teeth to our local family dentist and Caden started screaming as soon as the man touched his lip. I have no doubt that this will also occur in Russellville on Friday. I hate it and I don't understand why my children are having such dental problems so early in life. I understand that genetics play a role as well as diet, ph of saliva and thickness/strength of enamel. I just wish there was more I could do. If another dentist suggests I give my kids flouride tablets I'm going to scream. I feel bad enough having switched to a flouride toothpaste. It hasn't helped at all so I've now switched back to non-flouride with is what I used on my oldest 2 boys.<br><br>
And I am so thankful that we can afford dental insurance! I cannot imagine paying for the dental work. It is SO expensive! I feel such sympathy for folks who don't have dental insurance and who may also not qualify for government assistance. When Gage had all of his work done we were out of pocket maybe $50 and that was our deductible. We have to pay the difference between the cost of amalgam and composite fillings since insurance will only pay the amalgam price. Our new family dentist charges an average of $8 a tooth (depending on size of filling). Our previous family dentist charged a flat $22 per tooth.<br><br>
I would hold Caden down to brush his teeth if I had to. No way am I going to stop doing something that is helping him to avoid more decay. I can't imagine how bad his teeth would be if I couldn't brush them. I'm thankful that Caden enjoys having his teeth brushed. I brush them and then I put a little more paste on and let him try to brush. Then he gets a sticker and a big hi-five. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
it's after 1 in the morning. I should proof this post but I'm not. forgive typos and the fact that it is probably not well put together. I'm basically rambling anyway lol
 

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thought it might be helpful to add. I didn't want my son to be anestitized completely for his dental work. After doing my research I learned that some dentists use a liquid "cocktail" which makes the children fall sleep or at least be "drunk" enough that they don't care what is going on. This method is much safer. The dentist we found had been using this method for over 5 years without any harmful side effects. Gage swallowed the cocktail (I can't remember at this time the name of the meds used to create this cocktail but I can find out if anyone wants to know) and then my husband and I help him in our arms until he fell asleep (about 20 minutes). The dentist said that with his weight at the time (32 lbs) that he would probably stay asleep. The dentist said that if Gage started to wake up that he would still be so loopy that he wouldn't know what was going on but that he would then go ahead and give him a little nitrous oxide so that he would be completely relaxed. Gage never woke up. Rex and I sat on a couch just outside the room and were allowed to come in and sit with him after the work was finished. He stayed on a heart monitor just as a precautionary measure and he woke up about 20 minutes afterwards. When we walked into the room to be with him I noticed the dentist lovingly patting my sleeping babe on the chest. Finding this dentist was a blessing.<br><br>
I've heard some terribly stories. knowledge is power ... so do your research before making any decisions about dental work. You wouldn't believe how many different methods were explained to me while trying to find the right pediatric dentist for us ... and all of them said that their method was the best. Some of them even said it was the only method that would work. scary.
 

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with my dd like all others when she started toddlerhood teh battles began. i chose my battles. i let her not wear pjs to bed, i reduced the number of times she wanted to take a bath, i would let her go naked for a few minutes and then notice the time in between was getting longer and longer and realised we had started potty training without realising it, i let her go naked in the hosue but not outside. but i insisted on brushing her teeth with her crying and shouting because at 12 months i had seen tooth decay adn by 2 she needed caps. before 2 i would brush maybe three or 4 times a week. but after caps i would religously brush twice a day with her screaming and protesting. when we went back for her 6 month appt. she had no new decay. finally around 2 1/2 some unseen miracle happend and seh was ok with brushing teeth and cutting nails. she still doesnt like it but i gently insist. it may take her half an hour before my first request and finally when she does it ... but it no longer involves tears and screaming.<br><br>
i wish i had read about the importance of really brushing teeth then i probably would have avoided caps on my dd's teeth. and also having medi-cal she got to see a pedio dentist 9 months after my first request.
 

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I agree that forcing the brushing issue is much prefered to getting extensive dental work done. I wish I had done more brushing sooner on my oldest, he might have avoided three cavities and a terrible experience. Despite my best efforts, my two girls have extensive decay in thier front 4 top teeth. My 4 yo, it seems to have stopped progressing and I am watching it with the dentists help. My soon to be 2 yo however has really bad teeth and as soon as insurance starts in Aug she will be having the work done in the hospital while anestitized. Funny thing is in CA (Bay Area) it was difficult to find some one who did the hospital thing. Now we live in MN and it is very common for a child under 5 to have the work done in the hospital.<br><br>
freespiritmom, I am curious why you opted for the sedation and felt that it was better than general anesthisa? My son had versed and chloral hydrate at 3 yo and it was terrible. he reacted poorly and fought the effects, staggering all over trying to leave. The office staff was no help and did no x-rays while sedated, did not answer questions of mine. We did not go back. I like the idea of the general anesthisa and a hospital setting with more monitering while child is medicated. Plus health insurance kicks in and helps covers the cost of hospital fees. We had to pay for office sedation.
 

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At one point of another I have forced all 3 of my DS to brush. Maybe because I was a hygienist for 17yrs and had to assist a dentist once extracting 6 teeth on a 4 yr old because of bottle rot. I swore I would do every thing in my power NOT to have them go through that. Restraining a child and brushing is in the long run easier than having a needle in the roof of there mouth and the teeth extracted. Some children are predisposed to having decay but I will do everything I can to slow the progression in my kids. Not brushing is NOT an option at our house<br>
Jeana
 

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There are many things I would *never* force my DD to do, but I *will* clean her teeth, even if she doesn't like it. Yes, I want her to feel that it is her body and no one should be able to invade it, but at what cost? She already has chipped enamel on one tooth and that tooth is a little tan. Her other teeth all have white spots. The dentist told me that there are no cavities yet, but her teeth definitely have weaknesses. A friend of mine just had to take her 20 month old for two fillings. He was given the sedation (not general anesthesia) that was *supposed* to make him fall asleep. However, it didn't work for him and his parents were forced to hold him down while the dentist did his work. He screamed in terror the entire time. According to the dentist, some children fight the sedation and it won't work for those kids. I had 8 cavities at age 3. My husband had 8 cavities at a young age also. I do NOT want my daughter to have to experience anything like what my friend's son did. And if she does end up requiring something as invasive as that, I want to be able to tell her that I did everything I could to prevent it. I think that even if she was too young to understand my words, she would be able to feel that. Also, even if they were "Just milk teeth" and they didn't hold the place for permanent teeth, cavities can be *very* painful and I wouldn't want her to suffer through them!
 
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