Today I took the kids to the dentist for the first time since we moved to Israel almost two years ago. It’s embarrassing to me that I haven’t done this sooner but I’m so busy taking care of so many things, that everything takes longer than I want to get done. I didn’t understand how the dental aspect of the health insurance here worked, and the person at the office I spoke to about it quite some time ago also didn’t.
Well. Today’s news wasn’t good. The kids I took were ds7 and ds5, and it was ds5 that I was particularly worried about. I briefly wrote about this two years ago in the midst of our aliyah preparations, that when I took him for a routine dental check, I was shocked to find that he had a lot of cavities. A lot.
This was very surprising to me since he wasn’t yet 4 years old, was homeschooled and therefore had very limited access to sugary treats. We had a very good diet that included lots of healthy fats, raw milk, pastured eggs, broth, fermented vegetables, and no white sugar or white flour at all. Of course we did have baked goods with organic sucanat and nut flours or freshly ground whole grain flour, but not the amounts you could attribute his level of cavities to. And his cavities were totally disproportionate to all of the other kids’ state of dental health although they all have the same diet and similar toothbrushing habits.
I asked the dentist at the time what she attributed this to, and she said it’s possible he has highly acidic saliva. I debated with myself about how to handle all of those cavities, knowing it’s possible to heal cavities, but decided to go ahead with traditional fillings since it was such a short time before we moved. Knowing what I did about dental health, I was afraid we wouldn’t have the necessary factors in place for healing to take place, and so he had all of the cavities filled traditionally (20 – between almost all of his teeth).
Fast forward to today. We’ve been a lot more careful with brushing with him as a result of his history, though his diet is worse than it used to be. Firstly, our family diet isn’t nearly as good as it was for so many years due to cost and accessibility issues though most people would still call it very healthy, and secondly, he’s at kindergarten daily and they get plenty of sugary snacks – it seems there’s always a party of some sort going on.
Ds7 was checked first, not much to be concerned about there despite all the sugary garbage he also eats regularly. As I expected. Before ds5 climbed into the chair, I warned the dentist he might find a very different situation. And he did. 15 cavities, between most of his teeth.
I asked the dentist for his advice on prevention of this kind of thing, and he told me regular brushing and flossing. I told him that we do regularly brush and that doesn’t seem to do much to help this particular child. I told him I felt that ds5’s mouth ph was very acidic and causing this problem, and he dismissively shook his head and repeated that we need to brush and floss more. I wasn’t hurt or surprised at this response; I’ve gotten used to very limited help from the professionals who are supposed to be experts since their learning is from an educational model that looks at the body as components rather than a holistic whole.
I felt kind of hopeless about this child’s dental health when I walked out of the office. I absolutely don’t believe that this is an issue of inadequate brushing and know that this is going to be a constant issue with him unless we can figure out how to change his oral ph. I know a number of things that can be done for healing cavities but just can’t afford all the traditional foods necessary.
Fortunately my discouragement was short-lived and I decided it was time for more research to see what else we could do. I’ll share some of those things in my next post!