Toothiness

March 4, 2011

Here comes guest blogger Denielle to tell us the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth…(sorry, couldn’t resist!):

In honor of Dental Health Month last month, here’s a little something on teeth.

I opened up my email on January 28 to find this note from my daughter’s kindergarten teacher, Just wanted to give you a heads-up that during Art today Cecelia was trying to pull apart her glue stick, let go, and punched herself in the mouth, which knocked her front loose tooth out…”

Yep. My 6 year old punched her own tooth out of her mouth! The trauma of losing her first tooth in this violent manner has stayed with her, which is the reason she has let her other front loose tooth hang by the thinnest of fibers for the last 3 weeks. We call it her snaggle tooth and it’s really unpleasant to look at. I am not a fan of teeth issues to begin with and fortunately have not had to endure much more than routine cleanings at the dentist during my lifetime.

My girls, on the other hand, all have chipped front teeth (some worse than others), one has a fused baby tooth and all will be spending some serious time with an orthodontist in the not-too-distant future. In other words, I’ve had to get used to dealing with teeth issues.

So I thought I would share some wisdom about managing dental traumas (small and large), and reveal some insights from the tooth fairy:

Overall Dental Hygiene:

— Kids (or parents) should start brushing kids’ teeth as soon as they sprout up and children should visit a  dentist starting around age 3 (your pediatrician may have a different recommendation).

— Obviously good dental hygiene is important for many reasons.

— Kids should use kid-sized soft toothbrushes and non-fluoride toothpaste until they are adept at spitting out the toothpaste (Orajel is a fan favorite here).

— Brushing at least twice a day is recommended. I’m personally a fan of the anti-cavity rinses but I cannot make any claims about their true cavity-preventing abilities.

— My dentist gave us mini egg timers that my kids like to use to count down 2 minutes — the recommended amount of time for brushing. You’d be shocked how long two minutes takes sometimes!

Tooth Traumas:

— Sterile Gauze should be used to hold on bleeding gums for approximately 10 minutes if a tooth is accidentally knocked out. I now carry some sealed gauze squares in my bag in case we have any other tooth traumas on the road.

— Warm salt water is a good, soothing rinse after a tooth injury. It can even help cure canker sores.

— If you break or lose a permanent tooth, you want to get to a dentist. ASAP. And they recommend keeping the tooth in milk, water or saliva if possible.

Tooth Fairy Insights:

— Get a special tooth fairy pillow or box at a store or from your dentist as early as possible and keep it on hand. You never know when you’ll need it!  My daughter was thrilled to have a tooth box (which she got at school) and found it very exciting to find “empty” in the morning after the tooth fairy visited.

— It is a good idea to have some crisp bills ($2 bills are available at the bank) or fun $1 coins on hand to lend the Tooth Fairy in case a child loses a tooth unexpectedly and the Tooth Fairy hadn’t budgeted properly for that night’s rounds.

General:

— Remember, smiling uses fewer muscles than frowning, so brush well and smile big!

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