Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cavities and Candy and Sedation Dentistry: Some Halloween Thoughts

Halloween is just around the corner.  And that means costumes!  And red solo cups filled with wine!  And candy!  And cavities!

Yes, cavities.  I hate to be Debbie Downer, but cavities are on my mind.

My husband has always had cavity ridden teeth.  It was a trait I hoped he wouldn't pass onto our children, but alas, the gene has hit five-year-old Braden hard.  And thus, cavities, fluoride, dentists, and sedation (more on that), have all become a regular part of our vocabulary.

Let me back up.  Even before knowing about Braden's cavity ridden teeth, I knew going to the dentist with him would be a challenge.  Braden is very sensitive to noise and hates to be in the vicinity of a vacuum cleaner, let alone have a loud drill come into an internal orifice.  (See this old post chronicling Braden's first trip to the dentist - it wasn't pretty).  Over the years, it has gotten a little bit easier, in that he will actually sit in the chair and allow the dental professionals to look in his mouth.  However, allowing them to put anything in his mouth, besides a finger or one of those hook teeth counter things, has remained a challenge.

This was so momentous I took a picture.
In any event, about a year ago, right after Braden turned 4, the dentist was finally able to really get in there and assess the state of Braden's dental health.  The result?  Four cavities.  FOUR!  I felt the shame, as the dentist asked me what Braden eats:  Lollipops?  Sometimes (don't all parents use these for bribes?).  Fruit snacks?  Yes (aren't those supposed to be "healthy"?).  Skittles, cookies, ice cream? Guilty (doesn't everyone give nightly dessert options?)!  Braden may not have the best teeth genes, but I certainly wasn't helping.  I got a stern lecture on oral health and subsequently came home and trashed an entire shelf in our pantry.

My shame, and the subsequent candy purging, was only the tip of the iceberg, though.  The bigger issues was how to get these cavities filled, in a kid that won't even open his mouth for the motorized fluoride brush?

I have no answer.  It is unresolved.  We have tried.  Over and over.  In fact, we now have a standing once a month appointment with our dentist to "desensitize" him.  I have begged.  I have pleaded.  I have bribed (not with lollipops, though, we have cut those out!).  Thankfully, the cavities are small enough that they have not caused him any pain.  But once they do, I have a referral in hand for the pediatric sedation dentist.  The one who PUTS YOUR CHILD UNDER LIKE A DOG TO CLEAN THEIR TEETH.

I hope and pray that Braden acquiesces at the normal dentist before then.

In any event, notwithstanding Braden's genes and candy habits, he is not alone in his oral health issues. Approximately 50% of kids will have some sort of tooth decay by age 5.  And in order to remedy Braden's poor mouth, and keep three-year-old Casey from facing a similar fate, I have really started to crack down on oral hygiene - there's the brushing, there's the fluoride, there's the flossing, and then there's the candy avoidance.  (Damn you, Halloween.)

OTC Safety has a lot of helpful tips on tooth decay and cavities, particularly with regard to correct use of fluoride (hint - don't let kids swallow it!).  You can find some information at this link, as well as from this graphic below which is specific to Halloween itself (click to enlarge).

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween, and if you must, let the kids splurge.  I must admit I plan to do the same.  But only for one day.  Then purge it all and make sure they brush and floss and all that good stuff.  Because monthly visits to the dentist are no fun!

Disclosure:  I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright ©2011 Small Bird Studios| All Rights Reserved |Free Blog Templates at Small Bird Studios