Lessons I Learned from our Pediatric Dentist

Chad Riddersen

Posted on March 29 2012

It's all over the news, Twitter, Facebook, and the blogosphere - The unconventional way Alicia Silverstone feeds her child.  If you don't have time to click on the link, watch the video, or read the article, here's a little excerpt, "The video shows her [Alicia Silverstone] feeding her child Bear Blu like he's...a baby bird. She chews of his food and then -- how else to say this? -- deposits the masticated morsels in his mouth."

The first thing I realized upon becoming a mother was that parenting is about survival.  So, how or why a parent chooses to do anything is not for me to judge.  You do what makes sense for you and your family.  This video, however, struck a chord with me, because my husband and I have the worst dental history - braces, cavities, root canals, crowns, you name it.  Stay with me here. . . The images of Alicia Silverstone feeding her child like a bird would her chick, reminded me of the important lessons we learned at our daughter's first visit to the dentist.

Lesson #1 - If you are prone to cavities, do not share food/utensils with your children. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that is easily transferred through saliva.  I used to take a bite of my food and use the same fork to offer my daughters a taste.  After what my dentist told me, I make it a point not to share utensils in this way with my girls.

Lesson #2 - Floss daily.  It sounded crazy to me, at first.  Floss my 1-year-old's teeth?  It's not as laboring as it sounds.  Our dentist told us we need to only floss in between the tight spaces.  It takes all of 30 seconds, and it's surprising what we dig out of those little crevices . . .

Lesson #3 - Our dentist recommended brushing our childrens' teeth in a very interesting position - Just like the dentist would examine her.  I sit cross-legged on the floor with my daughter's head in my lap.  It took a while to get used to but now it's second nature.  I can see really well into her mouth, so she gets a thorough brushing, and my girls are so accustomed to someone looking down into their mouths that dentist visits are a breeze.

Based on my husband's and my dental history, we vowed to make healthy teeth a priority for our kids.  Visits to the dentist are not only expensive, but they can be very stressful and traumatic.  Luckily we found a great pediatric dentist, who taught us a lot about prevention. I hope it all pays off in the end.

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