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I was lax about my sons' baby teeth – until I realized it was setting a bad example

Monica, "thegrommom," lives on the north shore of Oahu with her husband and four sons.  She homeschools, raises tropical fruits, and keeps up with her surfing and skating boys ("groms.")  Monica blogs about all their family adventures, a...

Why I'm using my child's baby teeth as a lesson in healthy dental care

I admit it: When my first three boys were little, life was a blur.

I felt like it took all I had to simply keep them fed and clean, safe and healthy. I didn't have a lot of practice with kids — I was the youngest in my own family and didn't spend time babysitting or being around little ones growing up. So, yes, my first three were a shock to my system. My husband was also in medical school and a family practice residency program for all three of those kids' early years, so he was gone a lot, and we were both stretched.

And just like all parents, we did our best. We loved our boys deeply, and they grew up well. But in those early years, certain things did slip by us. I remember taking my boys to the dentist when they were of age, but the day-to-day dental care was just not a top priority. Knowing that they would lose their baby teeth, I think I had a casual attitude towards how we took care of their baby teeth. We tried to eat healthy, but looking back, lollipops were an easy bribe at the grocery store. And that whole brushing ritual at the end of the day? Oh man, I remember wanting to just get through it.

When a couple of my boys got cavities in their baby teeth, I had a big wake up call. I felt horrible! (I really couldn't blame the kids when they are so young — this was my mistake to own.) Even more, the dentist explained to me that the way we took care of their baby teeth actually would affect the permanent teeth that were coming in. We absolutely refocused our efforts on eating healthier, brushing better and flossing religiously.

Why I'm using my child's baby teeth as a lesson in healthy dental care
Image: Monica Swanson/SheKnows

By the time my first three boys grew out of the toddler stage, and I came out of my parenting fog, I had a lot more perspective. And I honestly wished I could go back and refocus my parenting in a few areas.

Just about that time, I found out I was pregnant with our fourth son. I was so excited! Not only were we happy to be having one more child, but it was also like another chance to do better in the areas I know I had overlooked before.

Why I'm using my child's baby teeth as a lesson in healthy dental care
Image: Monica Swanson/SheKnows

That fourth son is now 5, and just about to lose his first tooth. I am so glad that we have put a lot of focus on his dental care. We brush his teeth more carefully, floss daily and in general look at his baby teeth as the first step to his permanent teeth!

Why I'm using my child's baby teeth as a lesson in healthy dental care
Image: Monica Swanson/SheKnows

Parenting is hard work, and yes there is a lot to keep track of. But among the essentials is starting your kids young with proper dental care. There is a lot we can do to give our kids a healthy start to taking care of their teeth!

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration between ProNamel® 6-12 Years Toothpaste for Kids and SheKnows

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