I wonder if other parents have had a similar experience: you go into the drug store or supermarket, there to pick up everything you think you need at the moment. Wait! You remember that your child’s toothpaste is running out and since your child is under 3 years old, you can’t let him use yours because yours has fluoride in it. The reason fluoride is a concern is that many Massachusetts towns have fluoridated water already, and too much fluoride can cause “enamel fluorosis” or defects in the tooth enamel.
So you maneuver the cart or your basket around another corner or shopper, and head to where all the big people toothbrushes are. And then you look to where the kids stuff should be. All you see is an ugly Sponge Bob Square Pants electric toothbrush that looks too huge to use on your 2 year old and a slew of sparkly flavored toothpastes with cartoon characters on them and they all have fluoride. You look up and see 50 different varieties of adult toothbrushes, and you may see one lonely manual brush for kids but it says on the package “ages 5-7”.
Did I mention that you were in a drug store/supermarket? Where else do you suppose you’re supposed to get this stuff? Isn’t that where everyone else gets theirs (besides the goodies that they take home from the dentist at cleanings?)
Why are dental products some of the only things you cannot find in stock for children? I’ve noticed that everything down to the pre-portioned snacks is classified by age appropriateness in some stores. Companies want parents to buy into a brand at infancy and stick around as long as possible – maybe Gerber will want to soon start exploring “Teenager Food”.
I truly hope that I’m the only one who finds it difficult to buy the proper toothbrush and toothpaste for my child. Since I work at the dentist’s office, I do have great access to supplies, but I’m not always there when my child needs something, and I don’t hoard the supplies at my home either.
Here are some of the recommendations a parent would hear at our office, based on common dental knowledge and guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of General Dentistry.
Children should see a dentist by age one or within 6 months of the eruption of their first tooth.
Children should use an appropriately sized, soft-bristled toothbrush head—the smaller the child’s mouth, the smaller the brush that should be used.
Parents of children age 3 and under, who may not be able to spit out toothpaste, should be cautious with fluoride – many communities have fluoridated drinking water. Using non-fluoridated toothpaste until the child can spit may be necessary.
Parents of infants with no teeth can use a warm wet washcloth to massage and cleanse the gums, and infant brushes are available.
It seems to me that someone is forgetting about the young kids. Seriously – it’s not the parents either. Maybe in the past people might not have been as up on prevention and dental health for infants and toddlers, but those days are gone, at least with the parents that I see and talk to.
Well this isn’t just about frustration, but about taking action to help the parents of the area know where to go: to Wellesley Dental Group, 5 Seaward Road, in Wellesley!
We are placing our orders to keep a very sufficient stock of all children’s toothbrushes, toothpastes, and infant dental products so that parents will be able to stop in, pick up their necessary supplies (and you won’t have to be our patient), and go on their way knowing now they are all set!
I’ll post more with details about this new program we’re starting…I’m so excited, I didn’t even want to waste time coming up with a name for it before telling everyone. If you have any ideas for a name, please send them my way! THANK YOU !