In my work at a local non-profit, many of my conversations with parents are about dental hygiene. So many parents understandably give up the struggle to get their children to brush. It’s a struggle enough to get typically developing children to brush their teeth – they refuse, they tantrum, they pretend to do it. It’s exhausting and frustrating. Many of the parents I work with are trying to teach children with more extreme behaviors – biting, kicking, punching – and many don’t have access to dentists who are experienced in treating or willing to treat children with developmental and behavioral problems. Some parents are forced to put their children under general anesthesia every time – and many choose not to repeat it because it’s such a traumatic image and experience, putting your kid under. This leads to a wicked combination: poor dental hygiene in the home and no six-month check-ups/x-rays/cleanings.
Dental hygiene is a safeguard, and without it, bacteria and disease have an open doorway to our bodies – who knew an infection in the mouth could so easily spread to the brain or blood? Many thanks to the doctors and dentists going out of their way to help out. Here’s a video clip from NBC Nightly News tonight about this issue: