Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A battle worth fighting: me against the children and their teeth

I knew something was up. I think Monkey knew because, for a change, he was not keen to go. My worst fears were confirmed. "He needs a filling," said the dentist. He started to cry when the dentist gave him a talk about looking after his teeth. Before we knew it, we were downstairs booking an appointment when the receptionist asked if we could do it now. Eek. I decided we would, for lots of reasons. He calmed down and actually did brilliantly - although our fab dentist seems to do fillings without any horror shows, as it was the easiest filling I've ever seen.

We did have another chat with Monkey, about brushing his teeth. Bear in mind that Missy Woo gets the same things as he does and her teeth are fantastic and the dentist always praises her. Quite simply, she brushes her teeth properly. I've lost count of the number of times I've sent Monkey back to the bathroom to brush his teeth again after he's disappeared for all of 15 seconds then said he's done his teeth. That must mean there are plenty more times when I didn't.

If nothing else, the filling was a wake up call to him. Whilst it wasn't as traumatic as he thought it would be (mainly driven by his friend telling him how much a filling had hurt - I told you we had a fab dentist!), he realised that not brushing your teeth properly has consequences (especially after breakfast when he often has raisins on his cereal; they are so difficult to unstick from little teeth.) Mind you, there are signs of a bit of slippage and once again, I'm sending him back upstairs after his sister snitched on him a few times.

The problem is, two minutes is a bit long when you are 8. Or 7 but Missy Woo is way more patient.

Thankfully, Colgate sent me a bag of goodies including a fab toothy two minute timer to help them know exactly how long two minutes is. I mean, when Monkey first had a filling, I sat upstairs watching the clock to time them. They sent it for their Oral Health Month in September so let's gloss over the fact that it's now October. Bad Kate. Still, there's never a bad time to discuss dental health for kids.

Colgate shared with me an infographic that I personally found quite interesting, and shocking. I'd share it with you but Blogger won't let me upload the file so I'll give you the edited highlights. Only 50% of children go to see their dentist twice a year. That is down in part to some parents not realising that milk teeth are as important as adult teeth. Another factor is parents' fear of dentists and also because the children are afraid. Generally, I don't fear the dentist which I'm glad about, and my kids have been going to the dentist so long they shouldn't really fear them because they haven't learnt that from me. I'm hoping the filling doesn't scare Monkey in any way.

We are so lucky that we do have a dentist that we can visit regularly - I know that not everyone is so fortunate. And I know that it's really super hard not to give into demands for sweets and chocolate all the time, particularly when you have smart persuasive children. I spend my life saying no to my kids, and I don't always win. But I do think it's a battle worth fighting and winning as much as I can. Having healthy teeth is more important than most of us think - it can affect your overall health, as well as your confidence. So the fight will go on and I'll try to keep them on the right track.

(Thanks to Colgate for sending a bag of goodies for us to try.)

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