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Thoughts on Holistic Dentistry…

This is likely the last non-holiday related email you’ll get from me for the next month or so. I am feverishly working on our gift guides, holiday recipes–and for the first time this year, a few fun giveaways and early-bird gifts from some of my favorite brands. Be sure to follow us on Insta and FB so you don’t miss any of this Good Stuff. (BTW, did you see Gimme featured in Goop’s infamous Gift Guide today? We are beaming!).

Anyway, backing it up to the most recent holiday–I hope you guys all had a great Halloween! My kids now are sitting on OBSCENE amounts of candy, and I am particularly concerned about Wolfie because he’s had a bunch of cavities already. The photo above is how we spent the day before Halloween–getting a molar pulled (for the second time!). Felix, at age 12, has never had a cavity, doesn’t need braces, and has had nothing but perfect, easy dental checkups–as always, parenting more than one kid keeps me on my toes!

In case they are useful, I will share some takeaways here, gleaned from my experiences with both of my kids as well as the research we’ve done and products we’ve tried.

1) We’ve not had any luck with holistic dentists here in New York City (we’ve tried three!). I am sure there are good ones out there, but the ones we visited were pushy with expensive supplements that they sold, had somewhat dingy/dirty offices, and had questionable diagnostic judgement from what I could tell. We’ve ended up sticking with a traditional, though very competent, pediatric dentist within walking distance to our house.

2) I didn’t allow our dentist to give Felix fluoride treatments, but I caved on Wolfie after he started having so many cavities. Treating decay involves fillings (which contain BPA or similar), novocaine, nitrous oxide, and stress (both for him and me!), so the fluoride feels like the lesser evil right now.

3) We filter fluoride from our drinking water, but I think fluoride in toothpaste is okay and maybe even makes sense for kids who are cavity-prone (we don’t sell any fluoride toothpaste in our store, but I like this one.)

4) I also never allowed sealants to be applied to Felix’s molars, because they contain a compound that can turn into BPA when it comes in contact with saliva (!). On the other hand, dental composites (which they now use for fillings instead of mercury) are made of a similar substance. After Wolfie’s second tooth had to be pulled because of decay, I opted to have his four molars with the deepest grooves sealed.

5) An electric toothbrush does seem to make a difference for kids–we use this one. We also floss every night with these, which makes flossing easier than brushing! My mom keep insisting that we need a water flosser–she loves this one–but it seems like such a mess for a child. Has anyone had success using one with your kids?

6) While I have conceded on sealants and fluoride treatments, I do still push-back on frequent dental x-rays and allow them only when the clinical exams suggests there may be something that requires a closer look.

7) As for diet, I have tried to limit not only candy, but even healthier sweets like dried mango and raisins, unless we are able to brush Wolfie’s teeth right after he eats. And because vitamin D is important for strong teeth, my kids get this supplement once a day (it’s the only brand I have found that doesn’t contain sugar, but it’s still chewy, so we take it before brushing teeth in the morning).

For our family, dental care has proven to require a nuanced, individualized approach that involves some more traditional treatments that I’d hoped avoid. I think for some kids, you can do less (like we’ve been able to do with Felix), but for kids who are cavity-prone, you may need to weigh the risks of treating decayed teeth with the potential risks of preventing the decay.

Please hit reply if you have a child with problematic teeth and let me know what has worked for you!

Stay sane,
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