This past week has been something of a traumatic toothy experience for my daughter, and a scary glimpse into her dental future for me.
First she started off in the dentists chair, for what we thought would be a quick once over and out. It turned into several x-rays, and the photographic proof that she has more cavities than a rabbit warren has burrows. This news made my jaw drop. When the dentist turned to me and told me that I would have to improve her diet, my chin all but hit the floor.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that my child’s baby teeth were full of holes, I was being accused of pumping her full of Coke and Coco Pops for breakfast and filling her lunch box with pick ‘n mix. Marvelous, just marvelous. Everyone knows that asking a mother what sort of diet their child has is paramount to calling them hopeless, useless and completely irresponsible.
If I believed for even a millisecond that I was any of the above (and we’re only talking about diet control duties here, not mothering as a whole) I guess I would have just hung my head down to meet my jaw and wished that the floor would open up and suck me on in. But I don’t believe that, so I decided to argue my case. Or rather defend myself, and say how incredibly healthy her diet actually is.
Chocolate is a treat in our house, sweets are a rarity (the last consumed were 2 jellybeans given by the doctor, go figure) and fizzy drinks are a no-go. She brushes and flosses twice a day, and resigns herself to 99% of the contents of any of her party bags going into the bin.
So short of sucking out all the sugar from her fruit, vegetables and wholegrain bread as well, I am at a loss of just how far I can go to improve her diet and stop the rest of her teeth dropping out as well.
I’m sure everyone claims the same, and the dentist probably just sits there thinking to himself ‘Madam, you do protest to much’. But I was, to put it mildly, shocked, upset and riled up. Not at my daughter, or even really at myself, but at all those other countlesslittle Fruit Loop eating children out there. The ones boasting a perfect set of knashers, who are undoubtedly served up nothing but junk by a mum who doesn’t know her arse from her electric oven.
Seeing my stress levels increase, the dentist did try and pacify me somewhat, telling me that some kid’s teeth just can’t handle the same amount of contact with sugar. For the record, and for anyone else wondering what you are supposed to do in a situation like this, the dentist told her to start using a pea sized amount of adult toothpaste (not enough fluoride in the kids stuff when they are 7/8) and then not to rinse her mouth after. He also said to rinse her mouth out with some water after everything she eats, to brush her teeth after any treats and to steer clear of anything with any flavour.
OK, maybe he didn’t say the last, but he may as well have.
Her menu has now become as unappetising as a horses nose bag. The Sultana Bran (at 22.7% total sugar) is out and the Puffed Wheat (at 1.8%) is in. Not hard to see why Puffed Wheat is so low, it looks, tastes and bobs around on the milk like a handful of saw dust. The juice cartons have left her lunchbox, along with the ‘healthy’ fruit cereal bars and boxes of raisins (natures equivalent to candy floss).
Even the yogurt is being re-assessed for it’s high sugar content and then rationed. Quite frankly mealtimes are becoming a bloody nightmare. Still, what to do. Until her teeth are back on track and we can start again with a blank slate, I reckon it’s better to be safe than even sorrier.
It does seem that nothing on the shelves for kids these days comes without a cup or so of sugar thrown in for good measure, and this seems criminal. Cigarettes packets now host graphic images of the consequences, alcohol abuse is highlighted in hard hitting TV campaigns and even the danger of the sun is spelt in no uncertain terms, yet any company can target kids with their fat, salt and sugar laden foods, and no one seems to mind. Yes, the boxes are all labeled with food contents so a parent should know, but surely the kids ‘healthy breakfast cereals’ could at least veer a little more towards actually being healthy.
Little wonder that childhood obesity is taking over the way that it is, when these companies care more about profit, than doing their bit to try and prevent future generations becoming balls of doughy lard, with shorter life spans, diabetes and no teeth.
Anyway. Off my soapbox and on to the next dental disaster took place this afternoon.
Yesterday afternoon, with a referral in hand, we trotted off to the nearest Orthodontist. Several more costly x-rays later, and we were seated to be told even more news. The expensive sort of news. Is there any other? Apparently her lower jaw is too far back, her teeth are too far forward and she’ll need a plate to bring them all back together. OK then. So that will be another $1700.
On the bright side the plate comes in a wide variety of pretty colours, something which I am now using to try and sell the idea to my daughter. The idea that I steer clear of the whole issue of discomfort, increased saliva and the problems that she will have stringing two words together when it’s in.
That wasn’t actually the worse part of the days bad news . Oh no. Not at all. The news that really had me jumping up and down with glee, was the glimpse into her future and the joys that are still to come. The x-ray also showed crooked adult teeth making their way down, that would in time require a full brace to be glued onto her teeth, for a rather reasonable $6000. Once again it does come in a choice of colours. Train-track grey, or the more expensive and less effective clear plastic. Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions.
So was that the end of the bad news? Don’t be silly. Add to that a tooth that’s gone AWOL. That’s right a missing tooth. No, I can’t say I saw that one coming either.
I guess at some point the tooth fairy got the hump with us, possibly for not leaving enough under the pillow, and as revenge decided to swipe a tooth to make us pay. Literally. In the form of a no doubt ludicrously priced false tooth when the other one falls out. Have to say that if I ever catch that damn fairy she’ll be lucky to make it out of there with both her (or his) wings intact.
So was that the end of the bad news? I’d say. Don’t you think that’s enough to be going on with?
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