Brushing my toddler's teeth with sugar.
I spent last week with some singing and dancing dentists, and last night I brushed my kids' teeth with sugar and sent them to bed. I've worked closely with a company for the past year or so on a few local TV spots, and this past week I was able to attend a conference they put on that allowed dentists, researchers, doctors, dental hygienists, naturopaths, writers, and nutritionists to learn more about the sweetener xylitol.
I basically came away from this conference a changed woman, wife and mother. While so many of the scientific studies flew right over my head and past the concierge, much of makes perfect sense, especially when it comes to the use of xylitol with children. I told my best friend last night that I feel like I've been brainwashed - how can something so simple that's been around for so long (since the late 19th century) not be used and adored by everyone? I blabbed about it to strangers on the plane, I've talked my husband's ear off about it, and as of today, both of my girls are on a xylitol regimen.
I've tried to think of a way to explain xylitol to you in the way I understand it. I've poured over medical journals, studies and reports for the past six days and now use words like strep mutans, caries and biofilms in casual conversation. (I did TERRIBLE in chemistry by the way - totally not the way my brain works.) I can even use the word 'oral' without dissolving into giggles.
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What does all of this have to do with anything? Well, this is the starting point of my journey. A week ago I knew nothing of ozone dentistry, 5 part sugars, osteopathic medicine, the dangers of mouth breathing in young children and the use of xylitol to reduce (and hopefully eliminate) ear infections and cavities in young children for the rest of their lives. I am not a crunchy person, I am not a fad person, but I am a "if something makes my life easier I'll do it" person.
My first step was to learn about xylitol. To ask every question I could while I had the chance. The second step? To put what I learned into action. I looked hard for pediatric dentists near me who support the use of xylitol and focus more on prevention than treatment. I've even found a new dentist for myself.
What is dental care like in your home? I learned this past week that not going to the dentist for 9 years isn't all that shocking. You could brush your teeth with the best toothpaste and the best toothbrush and floss like your dentist was watching you, and you would still end up with cavities. Alternately, you could be one of the people who brush your teeth once a week or less and never suffer a cavity in your life. I've learned there's a lot more to oral health than simply brushing and flossing. So many of us are so proactive with our own health and that of our children, but how proactive are we when it comes to oral health? If you've been going to the same dentist for 20 years because you're afraid to go anywhere else or of hurting their feelings, it may be time to start looking around if you're not truly happy or getting results.
Dentistry has come a LONG way in 20 years (even 10 years!) and if your dentist hasn't? There's a chance you or your children are suffering and don't even know it.
- By Casey Mullins
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