Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Keeps our teeth healthy every day"

"Brushing, brushing, brush this way,
Keeps our teeth healthy every day.
Once in the morning,
then at noon,
And at night time when we see the moon.
Brushing brushing, brush this way,
Keeps our teeth healthy every day."

(Sung to twinkle twinkle little star)

Brushing teeth is the hardest part of being a parent.
And no, I'm not kidding...

I battle every morning and night with the girls:
"Please open your mouth?"
They shake their heads at me, lips tightly pursed.
They look at me and smile, lips clamped shut.
Niamh gives in, "how much longer?" she mumbles as she hops and dances and spins...
"Will you stand still!" 
"But how much longer?"
Finally we are done...
I resort to tickling Eilidh and as she giggles she cannot help but open her mouth... I pounce; she shouts, "Don't hold me! No, that hurts! Want to sit up! No! not like that, want to lie down..."

OMG, they infuriate me!

Do you know what makes it even more difficult?  Niamh has dental caries (or holes as we so affectionately call them!) and I feel so guilty - I feel like such a terrible parent.  I have failed her - or at least her teeth!  And the guilt gets worse: my dad is a dentist and I have no fillings...  I am guilt ridden! 

We have brushed her teeth since her first tooth appeared at the age of 13 months.  Ok, we may have forgotten on the odd morning or two to brush her teeth and, yes, we have let her brush her teeth on some occasions but I have not been totally negligant.  I haven't...  She has been to see the dentist - aka grandpa - and sat in his chair, but never opened her mouth for him!  We have read Usborne's great First Expereince book "Going to the Dentist" and "Maisey, Charley and the Wobbly Tooth"  to try and reassure her that grandpa isn't going to hurt her, that she'll have fun and go up and down on grandpa's big fancy chair and even get a sticker, but she still gets upset when we go to his surgery.

She doesn't eat many sweets and never gets fizzy pop.  Her diet is good and healthy.  I do know that I should have listened to my dad though...  I thought that I was giving her the best by encouraging her to drink fuit juice and smoothies - damn you, Innocent!! - because, after all it's all part of a healthy diet, isn't it?  But these fruit juices are bathing their teeth in erosive acids, eating away at the enamel of the teeth and making caries more likely: fruit juices may even be more erosive than fizzy pop!  I should have listened sooner, dad...  So a word of warning - limit your child's fruit juice and perhaps even water it down, and let them have it at meal times when the effect of the acids are greatly reduced.

So, you see,  I have contributed to her "holes" and now she has three caries that I can see, taunting me, telling me that I'm doing a rubbish job of looking after her teeth, teasing me with the idea that I might be an awful parent...  I need to do something...  My dad has recently retired - cheers, dad! - just as we were breaking through to her, but today enough is enough and we are going to see a new dentist.  Fingers and toes crosssed that Niamh lets the dentist take a look, that I don't get shouted at and that I don't come out feeling like a total failure...

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