We have all seen them – those poor kids who run around with what can only be described as Billy Bob teeth. I have nightmares that my kids will end up with a mouth full of cavities, or that all of their little chompers will rot away and fall out. Maybe I am overreacting.
I really do my very best to make sure the The Buds take care of their pearly whites. I have even gone so far as to physically hold down Big Bud while I force the Spinbrush between his lips. I know – this is not the ideal way to teach your kids good brushing habits. I swear that I have tried everything else – rewards, praise, and even bribery – to no avail.
Why do my children hate brushing their teeth so much? Big Bud plays the game where he goes into the bathroom, runs his toothbrush under the faucet, and pretends I am so clueless that I will not know the difference. He doesn’t understand that I practically invented that charade when I was little.
Seriously though – I was the master brush evader. The best brushing my teeth ever got was in the car on the way to the dentist. I guess my childish mind thought that made up for the last 6 months’ lack of brushing. I am embarrassed to admit this to all of you, but it’s the truth. My mom really did her darndest to make sure we all brushed like were supposed to, but she had 4 kids for goodness sakes. Maybe that is why I have the visions of tooth catastrophe I do now…guilty conscience.
This past weekend Little Bud had 2 more teeth pop through, evidenced by his massive drooling and cranky demeanor. Needless to say, I have really started to stress about his dental health (weird, I know). When do I start taking him to the dentist? Is it REALLY that bad to let him take a bottle to bed with him? I did a little digging and in honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month (and my sanity), check out this list of ways to help keep your kids teeth healthy.
What?!?! Little Bud has 4 teeth and hasn’t seen the dentist yet. The ADA recommends that parents take their child to a dentist no later than their first birthday, allowing the dentist a chance to look for early tooth problems. Oh great. Little Bud just had his first birthday and still hasn’t been. I just can’t see him letting someone poke their finger in his mouth without putting up a major fight. I hope this dentist is insured – he might be missing a digit after this appointment.
OK. I should be good here. We have been working on transitioning to a cup for months now and are down to just 2 bottles a day. The ADA warns that giving your child sugary drinks in a bottle can cause bottle mouth, a condition in which the enamel on baby’s teeth starts to wear away from excessive exposure to sugary liquids. Never put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup of any type. Even milk can cause your child’s teeth to wear down, inevitably causing cavities and the dreaded Billy Bob teeth syndrome.
Instill good brushing habits from an early age. Keep baby’s gums clean by wiping them daily and once teeth erupt, choose a brush appropriate for little ones. A personal favorite of mine if the Baby Banana Bendable Brush. This soft, flexible brush doubles as a teether and can even be placed in the freezer! The large handles allow baby to get a good hold and keeps moms from worrying about this brush being a choking hazard.
Again, this one got me. Little Bud is very territorial when it comes to his Paci. He really only wants it when he starts getting sleepy, so daddy and I thought it was time to break him of this habit. After 5 restless nights of screaming where none of us got any sleep, I finally gave in and Mr. Paci made his return. Weak, I know, but I need sleep. The ADA advises that sucking is a very normal nighttime comforting technique for children and it doesn’t become a big concern until after about 5 years of age. No WAY my kid is using a pacifier when he is five, so I think I am OK there. If the child continues this after their adult teeth come in, dentists warn that it could cause a permanent distortion in the shape of the mouth and the alignment of the child’s teeth.
Whew! Maybe now I can stop stressing so much. So I’m not doing too bad of a job after all. Hopefully the delusions of my kiddos ending up with bad teeth will stop, or at least slow down a bit now. If they don’t, I guess I will just have to be ok with the fact that I will love them regardless of whether they look like Freddy Mercury or not. If all else fails, they could end up with a lucrative singing career.