Baby teeth memories can last a lifetime.
Is it important to help your children brush their teeth when they are very small? Some people feel that it is not such a big deal, since children lose their baby teeth anyway.
Me? I think it is very important. My parents were very good at helping me brush and taking care of my teeth. But a so called juice for babies created major problems for my teeth and so at the ripe old age of two, my two top front teeth had to be extracted.
This scarred me for life! Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration. But I am way more self-conscious about my teeth than I should be. I hate smiling with my teeth showing because I went such a long time without any front teeth. I am probably subconsciously still trying to hide a gap that no longer exists.
And I hate going to the dentist. Don’t get me wrong, my dentist is awesome. He is a family friend and also the same person that did my tooth extraction all those years ago. He is gentle and when I am not feeling well, he is extra careful not to hurt me. My sister’s children are also his patients now and they have no fear of going to the dentist. And honestly, it doesn’t scare me either. I just hate it.
Having problems with my teeth all those years ago has made me very, very conscience of oral hygiene. For example, there was a time I was in hospital. I had local anesthesia and was very drugged up on morphine. So I couldn’t even stand on my own. Actually, most of what I know about that day came from my family telling me, because I can’t really remember much.
Anyway, that day the nurses were getting me back into bed after a procedure and getting me ready to sleep. Apparently I insisted that I had to brush my teeth first. I kept trying to get out of bed so that I could go and brush my teeth. Eventually the nurses relented, after finding out just how determined I can be. They brought me a kidney-bowl and water to my bed so that I could just brush and get it over with. My mom had to help me sit upright since I was so drugged. At last my teeth were brushed and I could fall asleep. And then? Well, then I wanted to know where my mouthwash was! That’s when everyone conspired and put their feet down! I had to sleep without the final step of my tooth-brushing regiment that night.
Although this story is funny to my family, I think it shows how much things that happen when you are very young can influence you right through your life.
That also means that when you teach your children good oral hygiene from a young age, they will keep it up through their lives. And besides that, many dentist say that taking care of a baby’s gums are what helps them to develop strong adult teeth later on.
So help them keep brushing!
Paedodontics is the field of dentistry that is dedicated to the treatment of infants, children, adolescents and patients with special health care needs. For more information on oral hygiene for your child, visit the Paedodontic Society of South Africa on their website: www.ourchildrensteeth.co.za/questions.html
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