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Friday, January 28, 2011

Dental Dilemna

I have always had good teeth.  Growing up, I had an uncle who was my dentist and he instilled great oral hygiene habits into me from a young age.  In my 34 years, I have not had any cavities.  In fact, my only "issue" is receding gum tissue probably resulting from years of over-enthusiastic brushing.

My first three children all have pretty good teeth as well.  They brush, floss, and so far don't have any cavities between them.  So, was I ever surprised when my Lillian had 4 cavities this summer when she went to the dentist. 

How did this happen?  It's embarrassing to me...her godmother is a dentist (the daughter of my uncle who took care of my teeth as a child) and I've always took great pride that I've made it to adulthood without any dental work other than braces as a kid.  Lillian was a trooper and got all 4 of the fillings in one appointment which that particular dentist had never seen a 4 year old do (so maybe I'm not THAT bad of a mom).  I took charge of monitoring her tooth brushing, flossing her teeth every few days (I know every day would be best....but I'm a realist), and she started using fluoride rinse each night.  All that being said, it was with trepidation I brought Lillian back to the dentist this morning.  Not only did she have another cavity, but her 3 year old little sister has 3 of them....UGH!!!!

What is going on here?  The dentist said that both of the girls have "extremely groovy" teeth, which I guess is not a compliment when you're talking teeth! They are hard to keep clean and plaque gets stuck in the indentations and is a prime area for decay.  Their cavities are all on the "groovy" surfaces and not between their teeth, which I guess is supposed to make me happy because it means that we are doing good work with our brushing and flossing.

The one thing that I keep coming back to is that we have a reverse osmosis water filtration system in our house.  When we moved in to this house 5 years ago (yep, that's when I was pregnant with Lillian), we had the water tested and it was off the charts in minerals and other stinky, yucky stuff.  I had a kidney stone previously and my doctor cautioned me against drinking water with high mineral contents.  Since we are all big water drinkers, we shelled out the big bucks for the Rolls Royce of water filtration systems.  Fast forward five years, and I have a 5 year old with 5 cavities and a 3 year old with 3 cavities.

I've been doing research on fluoride and fluoride supplements and the opinions are all over the place.  Some sources call it poison while other herald it as the key factor in good dental health.

Here is my question - what should I do going forward?  Should I consider fluoride supplements for 3 younger children that have never drank from a fluoridated water supply?  Any advice or personal experiences would be greatly appreciated.

God Bless!

Heather :-)