Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Natural Consequences of Failing to Brush

Danielle went to the dentist today.  It was time for her six-month checkup, and she'd been complaining of some discomfort in the back of her mouth.  We figured the discomfort might be caused by her wisdom teeth.

Sure enough, the dentist had to make a referral.  Danielle may be in for a bit of a wait before the problem can be remedied, as there is only one oral surgeon in our area who accepts our state's medical insurance.

Her checkup, as usual, was lousy.  This time, she had three cavities.  (It's only been six months since her last check-up, so that's pretty bad.)  Unfortunately, this is the natural consequence of her failing to brush her teeth.

It's pretty frustrating, but she simply won't perform certain personal hygiene tasks without a huge fight.  Her breath is frequently atrocious, but we gave up on the twice-daily battle over tooth-brushing long ago.  More than once, our insistence that she brush has triggered rages or violence, and we finally decided that it wasn't worth it.

Once, Danielle became so enraged by being asked to go brush before bed, that she became violent and scratched FosterEema hard enough to draw blood.  We ended up calling police that night.

All this over a two-minute task?


The kid won.  It's just not worth having to call the cops over a toothbrush.  If Danielle wanted to have bad breath, gum disease and a mouthful of rotten teeth, that would be a decision kept between her and her dentist.

We stopped pestering, nagging and reminding, and things became a lot more tranquil around here.

Of course Danielle isn't happy about having cavities, either.  I guess she'll have to decide whether the cavities are worth the convenience of not brushing her teeth.


  1. Will she at least rinse with an antibacterial mouth rinse? Maybe have sealants put on her teeth?

  2. Exact same scenario with my son. Here, however, is the difference. In spite of not EVER brushing, he was always getting these great check ups where the hygenist would praise his brushing technique and NEVER any cavities. He did nothing in the way of oral care - ZIP - and apparently didn't need to. Horrible breath, brown teeth - but no decay. After about 12 years of this I stopped taking him to the dentist completely. He hasn't gone in over 2 yrs now and everything seems exactly the same. I have other kids who brush twice a day faithfully and are very cavity prone, it just doesn't seem right. Again, it was another reason for him to call me a liar since I was constantly telling him he would have consequences for not brushing, and he never did. Sure, I would hate having brown teeth and fetid breath, but it doesn't seem to bother him and it doesn't cause HIM any discomfort so what's the big deal? He doesn't get why I'm concerned about anything. I just eventually get to a point with certain kids that it just doesn't seem worth the fight anymore. Do I want to be held hostage by a 45 min. rage because I ask them to redo a chore? Do I need to call the police because they refuse to wear a coat when its 28 degrees? They either learn or they don't - most of mine don't learn even when they're uncomfortable or in distress.

  3. Hello and Happy New Year! Hope you had a reasonably good Hanukkah as well.

    Remember me, Toots and Noodles' mom? I am back blogging at

    My kids have always resisted brushing their teeth also. The Ninja has braces now, and he is finally beginning to listen to the orthodontist about the important of brushing. Toots does not seem to brush much, at least when she is at home. However, her teeth appear perfect and she does not have bad breath. Sigh. I agree with you and Lisa, that this is one thing not worth continual fighting over.


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