Adventures in Attachment Parenting: Just Say No…….to juice? by Allison Silver
At our one year well baby visit our Pediatrician recommended that we see a Pediatric Dentist before our daughter’s eighteen month check-up. Since she didn’t get her first tooth until almost twelve months we decided to hold off until she had a couple more teeth. I figured there was no sense in paying good money for our first dentist appointment if the kid had no teeth!
Since she now has almost seven teeth and with our eighteen month check up just a few weeks away, I decided to schedule an appointment with a local pediatric dentist. I wanted to find a nice dentist where we would have a good first experience. So I went to my go-to resource Yelp and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there is a highly recommended pediatric dentist just down the street from us in our little country community. As a side note, thank you to everyone who writes reviews on Yelp. Like I said, it’s my go to resource when I am checking out new restaurants or services in the area. One of these days I will actually write a few reviews of my own, but until then thank you to everyone who does.
Okay moving on. So I called the dentist’s office and the receptionist was the nicest person ever! She was super friendly and answered all of my insurance questions and told me that she would happily process all of our insurance paperwork even though this dentist is technically “out of network.” She scheduled our appointment for the following week and even mailed me the initial paperwork ahead of time so I could fill it out at my leisure instead of trying to juggle a squirmy toddler and a clipboard of paperwork on the day of our appointment. I can’t even tell you how nice that is!
We attempt to brush Charley’s teeth with a finger brush once a day. During the week leading up to our appointment, each day when we brushed her teeth we talked about the dentist and how he would be looking at her teeth. I’m not sure if it made any difference for her but it made me feel less nervous. I don’t know about you, but I never really liked going to the dentist as a kid. I never had cavities as a kid but I needed lots of orthodontic work. Our family dentist was a nice man but he had very little patience with children and he always smelled like tuna fish! Yuck!
On the morning of our visit, with my paperwork in hand, we went to the office and met the receptionist, the hygienist, and the dentist. What I really loved about our appointment was that they let me hold Charley the entire time. That is a very big plus in my book. The hygienist showed me how to hold her to effectively brush her teeth. She had me hold Charley so she was facing me and straddling my waist then I leaned her back and it was much easier to expose her teeth and gums. Charley did not love this position so we will have to practice it a bit.
The only thing that irked me during the visit was when the well-intentioned hygienist told me not to nurse her to sleep because it could cause cavities. And after I nurse I should wipe her teeth with a wet cloth. I wanted to laugh out loud! I thought to myself, I’ll be sure to do that when she nurses in the middle of the night! Being the AP mom that I am, I have done a lot of research in this area and there is not enough sugar in breastmilk to cause cavities. In fact, breast milk produces very little acid and contains high levels of protective chemicals that help protect the teeth.
I was a bit leary of speaking with the dentist after these ignorant comments were made by the hygienist, but it turned out that he agreed with me and told me that there was nothing wrong with extended breast feeding. He told me that the real culprit is not breastmilk but juice! He explained that in our society parents think that transitioning toddlers to juice is healthy, but it isn’t. Not only does juice have sugar, but it also has acid which can damage the teeth. He said the real problem is when toddlers are taking frequent sips of it throughout the day and the teeth are being constantly bombarded by the sugar and acid. I had no idea what a culprit juice was for cavities. I have not introduced juice to Charley and after our visit I don’t have any plans to.
Overall our first dentist experience was wonderful! Everyone was friendly and the dentist sat and spoke with us for over half an hour! How many dentists do you know that do that? He did a wonderful job answering my questions and was very gentle with the exam. And the best part is he didn’t smell like tuna fish! We will definitely be visiting him again next year.