He only ever drinks water

You might go to confession and tell a little white lie. The priest will never know…right?

Whilst I don’t proclaim to be the chosen one, there are things that I know, teeth being one of those things. As a dentist, it’s not only our job to diagnose and treat, but to also educate about teeth and how to care for them. Occasionally, this “education” is mistaken as an attack on somebody’s parenting skills.

This is how it usually goes…

“Well I’ve had a look at little Johnny’s teeth and there are few things I’d like to show you. So, there are a couple of cavities here, here, here and here and there are a number of spots where I can see some acid wear. I will be able fix these cavities but we need to try and prevent this same thing happening in the future. Is there anything sweet or acidic that Johnny might be eating or drinking that might be contributing?”

“Well, he has milk with his toast in the morning but otherwise he ONLY EVER drinks water.”

“[sigh] What about foods, is Johnny eating much in the way of sweets or lots of apples or oranges, is he eating frequently though the day or before bed?”

“No, none of that!”

Mum’s a bit tense by now and rather than being up for a helpful discussion, feels like I’m interrogating her! Unfortunately, I have to let it go, “Well, maybe just have a think about what could be contributing to this. [sigh]”

I often get frustrated by the lack of willingness to engage in conversation that will only benefit the patient. There are many misconceptions about what is right for your child’s teeth. I recently read a Facebook post claiming that food companies with clever advertising were to blame for the increase in decay amongst toddlers and children. Many people agreed with this sentiment and commented in support of this claim, however your toddler or child doesn’t do the household shopping. As parents, we need to take responsibility for what our children are eating and how their teeth are cared for.

Tooth decay is on the increase in our younger patients and it is cause by consumption of sugar and, or poor oral hygiene and that is a fact! Certain patterns of erosion we see are due to consumption of acidic foods and drinks and that is also a fact.

As dentists, we are educated in healthy eating practices and are trained to give advice. Please don’t take advice as criticism, we are here to help.

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