Flossing a four-year-old’s teeth

Elizabeth went to see the dental nurse recently who told us she needed a filling. I decided to take her to the dentist to have the work done because of a bad experience with my own teeth and the dental nurse when I was a child. We went today and the dentist says she needs a general anaesthetic and three stainless steel crowns and a filling. This will cost about $3000. I am told that this is a preventable problem so naturally I feel just awful about it because it’s obviously completely my fault.

Yes, I let my kids have lollies every now and again. They also get chocolate here and there. I’ve always brushed their teeth twice a day with an adult-strength toothpaste that contains fluoride. I know not to buy the gimmicky children’s versions of toothpaste or the herbal brands. I have never, ever bought them soft drinks. They don’t even get it on special occasions like birthdays and Christmas. I do not buy soft-drinks. Ever. I despise the stuff and never touch it myself. I never buy cordial. They get milk, water, and orange juice. The orange juice is fairly recent too. I’ve never liked orange juice much because I know it’s full of sugar but I started buying it about a year ago. They get one glass a day at breakfast. However, this stops today. Orange juice is banned. Chocolate and lollies banned too. What about biscuits? Dessert? It seems mean to remove all the yummy things.

Elizabeth asked me today, “Will I ever be allowed to have lollies?”. I told her she could have them at birthday parties only. We’re also supposed to be flossing her teeth too. How many of my readers floss their four-year-old’s teeth? Daniel – who is seven – has had exactly the same exposure to juice and treats as Elizabeth and his teeth are fine. But we don’t floss his teeth either. I guess we should start now.

I really don’t want her to have a general anaesthetic but she wouldn’t even let the dentist clean her teeth or use the sucker. She’s not a cooperative patient at all.