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Dental caries


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I'm really annoyed. Mostly with myself, I think.


I've always been extremely particular about my child's teeth, regularly brushing at least twice a day, limiting sweets to after meals and even then not very often - I'm surprised he hasn't phoned ChildLine yet in regards to his lack of sweet luxuries. I've never let him have lollies or any sticky sweets. Perhaps a bit of chocolate every now and again yes.


So I was shocked to find out during a routine dental check that he had three small cavities. The dentist reassured me and said that due to his age (eight) and the body making adult teeth that calcium was often taken from the baby teeth to form adult teeth and bones, leaving them more susceptible to decay. Fair enough.


He had to get fillings - now, back in my day when you got a filling you got an anaesthetic needle, the cavity was dug out and the hole filled with a lovely mercury filling (personally I'm awaiting the onset of Alzheimers due to the quantity of mercury in my mouth). He didn't get this, they just stuck some paste that hardened and was sent on his merry way.


A few months later he said he had a lump next to a tooth that had been filled. Emergency appointment with the dentist indicated it was an abscess. After a course of antibiotics they were going to give him an anaesthetic, dig the filling out and replace it. They pulled the tooth instead. I was gutted!


Now, a few months later another abscess has formed on another filled tooth. Another emergency appointment. There was no indication of further decay on the outside of the tooth, but an x-ray revealed that half the tooh underneath was gone! He's got an appointment to have that tooth pulled next week, after yet another course of antibiotics. I asked why this has happened, one rejected filling I could understand, but two abscesses out of three fillings? The dentist said sometimes it happens, and, without wanting to wrist-slap me, he said, it was diet related. Diet related???


Breakfast: a bowl of cereal with milk (corn flakes, rice crispies, shreddies, cheerios or homemade porridge)


Tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste.


School snack - crisps.

School dinner.


After school snack: cheese on crackers, bread sticks and cream cheese or fruit.


Main meal: Something homemade and savoury not including any added sugar. Pudding occasionally, IF all the dinner is eaten. Pudding is normally something homemade, a slice of cake or biscuit. I don't make overly sugary homebakes.


Evening: tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste.


drinks throughout the day: milk or water.


So now anything with sugar in it is banned, no puddings - ever, and I'm going on the hunt for sugar-free breakfast cereals. I am finding so much conflicting information online about dental caries that I thought I'd post a message here and see if anyone had any advice. From the x-ray it looked like the cavity had just continued to grow underneath the filling. This would happen if the decay was not removed, yes? I thought that was the point of drilling. I can't help but think that if the cavity had been drilled out then perhaps the abscesses wouldn't have formed and he wouldn't have lost the teeth.


As a parent I'm absolutely gutted with myself that this has happened. I've taken over the role of tooth-brushing again myself since perhaps he's just not doing it right himself, but I'm really, really annoyed!

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I might suggest another dentist (Also worth asking in a dentist forum, as my suspicion is they aren't doing their job right..) and I might also suggest:




Expensive, but I do notice a difference myself when using it. (I alternate between one month using it and one month with another toothpaste.)



It might all just be down to genes though..


I have heard that decay can be due to an infection, and once you've got it, then your stuck for life!


I'm the one in my family with the mouth full of fillings, and my girlfriends not got a single one!


I've also heard it said from various dentists its better to brush your teeth before having a meal than afterwards.



There also appears some evidence that milk isn't necessarly good for growing teeth, but I'm not entirely convinced by that yet. (Its on my todo list to look at one day, but as I've already lost a percentage of my teeth its less urgent to think about not having milk than if I was younger!)

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I found this,




"Consuming foods and drinks that are high in carbohydrates, specifically a type of carbohydrate known as fermented carbohydrate will increase the production of plaque and increase the risks of tooth decay.


Tooth decay is often associated with sweet and sticky things, such as chocolate, sweets, sugar and fizzy drinks. However, you should be aware that starchy foods, such as crisps, white bread, pretzels, and biscuits also contain high levels of fermented carbohydrates."



Its like everything else .. it doesn't matter what you do its bad for you !!


Just another guilt thing for us Mums to stress about. :roll:


There has to be a gene factor too.

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^^ What are we supposed to feed them then?? No carbs? ~eyes up the seedy multigrained bread they're dipping into their homemade lentil soup with trepidation~


I've been super guilt tripped by the dentist, his "You should know so you don't make the same mistake with her," pointing at my 2 year old, certainly did it.

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The brushing routine might not be as good as it could be. I know lots of parents leave their children to brush their own teeth, but this usually isn't good enough. Supervised brushing is important for younger children.


Fruit and many breakfast cereals contain lots of sugars; and it's best not to brush right after these. Raisins are particularly bad since the sugary gunk gets jammed easily between the teeth.


The dietary issue might also be a lack of particular vitamins, causing a weakened immune system, or such; not necessarily the obvious things which we associate with good dental hygiene.


Things like nicotine, too, reduce blood flow to the gums and exacerbate disease; not that your son is smoking, but just as an example of the less obvious contributory factors.

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Supervised brushing is important for younger children.


How young is young though? When can you let them brush on their own? I waited until he was nearly 8 before I let him do it, and it gets inspected afterwards, but maybe this is where I went wrong. I can just see myself brushing his teeth for him until he moves out for fear of him not doing it right himself.

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My eldest is ten, and I still insist that, after she brushes, I have a quick go over to make sure every surface was included. She's probably getting good enough at it that she can manage on her own; but think it's still worth making sure.


My eight-year-old doesn't do a very good job at all; he's very slap-dash and cannot be trusted to brush properly. I always make him have a go first though, rather than just simply brush for him.


All children are different, of course.

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Don't do the guilt trip thing it doesn't do you or the bairn any good.


Show your list of foods to the dentist and see what he says, and see what he recommends.


I personally cant see anything wrong with his diet, but then I'm only your average Mum .. not super Mum .. as everyone's supposed to be nowadays.

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Had a not very nice trip to the Dentist with my eldest a few weeks back. He'd been put off by a crappy dentist South so it was never going to be easy. Didn't rate the one here much, with al ldue respect he couldn't actually tell what I was saying and kept asking his nurse!


He injected my boy and didn't give it more than a couple of minutes to go numb...have things changed in the last few years? I remember waiting a good 10 mins and the side of my face apparantly dissapearing. Anyhow, he proceeded to drill and my son stopped in because he was in pain. After the 3rd 'stop' the dentist gave up and has reffered him to a dentist who specialises in nervous cases (or at least may take the time to help)


Still waiting for the appointment, it's not nice watching your children going through that and I was hard pushed to keep my mouth shut.


We're careful over the amount of sweets/sugary items we give the children as well but sometimes it seems to make no difference, perhaps they inherited bad teeth from their Dad!


Justin :-)

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Remember also, if your kids go to school or visit their friends, that you cannot be with them 24/7 and you'd be amazed what they get up to behind your backs, eating all manner of devilish delights.



Perhaps explaining that later on in life if they don't look after their teeth, that its going to cost all their pocket money to pay for treatment..

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"Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth,

And spotted the perils beneath,

All the toffees I chewed,

And the sweet sticky food,

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth.


I wish I'd been that much more willin'

When I had more tooth there than fillin'

To pass up gobstoppers,

From respect to me choppers

And to buy something else with me shillin'.


When I think of the lollies I licked,

And the liquorice allsorts I picked,

Sherbet dabs, big and little,

All that hard peanut brittle,

My conscience gets horribly pricked.


My Mother, she told me no end,

"If you got a tooth, you got a friend"

I was young then, and careless,

My toothbrush was hairless,

I never had much time to spend.


Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,

I flashed it about late at night,

But up-and-down brushin'

And pokin' and fussin'

Didn't seem worth the time... I could bite!


If I'd known I was paving the way,

To cavities, caps and decay,

The murder of fiIlin's

Injections and drillin's

I'd have thrown all me sherbet away.


So I lay in the old dentist's chair,

And I gaze up his nose in despair,

And his drill it do whine,

In these molars of mine,

"Two amalgum," he'll say, "for in there."


How I laughed at my Mother's false teeth,

As they foamed in the waters beneath,

But now comes the reckonin'

It's me they are beckonin'

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth."


Pam Ayres - thank you!


Anyway, that poem is not aimed at you or your child but it does make me smile. Go on ask me how many fillings I've got aged 45! Go on.... I dare you! :D

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