In the clinic, I meet a lot of people and I deal with all kinds of things: patient problems, attitudes, complaints, demands and so forth. At times the work is monotonous… you come in and you almost do the same thing over and over again, but then sometimes work is quite entertaining. Sometimes work becomes very interesting because of the case at hand or the patient I am attending to.
Anyway, there are many funny conversations that I have with patients and I want to share with you the most recent one I had, between a mother and father who came into the clinic with their little boy:
Crickette: Hi mommy, how old is he?
Mom: 1 1/2 years old doc
Crickette: What’s the problem?
Dad: Bulok na po kasi yung front teeth nya (All his front teeth are badly decayed)
With that I proceeded to check the boy’s oral cavity and I was shocked at what I saw. Barely two years old, the child’s teeth have deteriorated and is plaque-ridden
Crickette: The anterior teeth are almost completely gone, and the rest are all badly decayed. Who brushes his teeth mommy?
Mom: Wala po (No one)
Crickette: What do you mean?
Mom: We don’t brush his teeth…
Crickette: You don’t what? Why? As in, ever?
That went on for awhile. And believe me, although that was the worst one I’ve experienced, I’ve met many parents who don’t have a clue about taking proper care of their baby’s teeth and it is quite frustrating. Yes, of course, the baby teeth are only temporary and they eventually get replaced by the permanents, but do you know that the complete set of permanents (minus the wisdom teeth) could come as late as 12 years old? This means that when a child loses his teeth at 2, he waits almost a decade for some of his teeth to get replaced. As parents, this shouldn’t be something that you are just “okay” with. As primary carers of your child’s health and welfare, you should want the best for them and this means that you will do all it takes to properly care for the health and beauty of his smile.
As soon as your child gets his first tooth, your duty begins. As a matter of fact, even before the first tooth comes out, you can start a habit of swabbing the baby’s mouth clean with dampened cotton or gauze to keep the tongue, lips, gums and palate clean. Understand that the milk your baby loves is heavenly food for bacteria; and when you let it accumulate in the mouth, it is like you are making your baby susceptible to dental disease. When you leave food particles around, you are leaving food for bacteria to thrive in the mouth. Yes, caries development proceed at a slow pace and surely the baby teeth eventually get replaced by the permanents, but that is not reason enough for you to relax and neglect your baby’s teeth. Your baby relies on you to know better. As the primary health provider of your child, you have to be aware of your duties and responsibilities; and you are expected to do all it takes to preserve the health, function and beauty of their smiles.
In the clinic, when parents present to me a child with severely decayed teeth, I usually ask them “What happened?”. Some parents would admit negligence (and I take this as the first step to rehabilitation), but there are others who will be quick to blame the child: “Kain kasi ng kain ng candy”. (He can’t stop eating candy!) or “Ayaw kasi magtoothbrush” (He doesn’t want to brush his teeth). They blame the yaya or the child and it frustrates me because much of this is common sense, you know? So when the mother and father showed me their 1 1/2 year old son, with teeth almost obliterated by caries, I wanted to cry. I wanted to hug the little boy and tell him: “I’m sorry that even before you learn how to say teeth, you may lose all of them…”
Anyway, after our discussion I dismissed the family with a hopeful thought: “Mommy he is your first child. You may have a second, maybe a third… I hope you won’t let this happen again.”
Please brush your baby’s teeth,
N.B. The child’s case is not a hopeless one. The gravity of his problems could be remedied, as long as the parents are open and willing to explore the options. The baby teeth get replaced. It isn’t the end of it all. The child just got a bad start (that’s all).
You and Your Teeth Dental Clinic
Unit 312 3F Sir Williams Hotel
#39 Timog Avenue, Quezon City