Dragon Breath

by Please Tell Me (Kevin)
Brushing Teeth

Logan was 18 months old when we first saw him for the first time. He was so small and we both fell in love with him instantly.

Since Logan was still a ward of the state (a foster child) we (his foster parents) had to follow strict procedures concerning Logan’s health needs. Soon after he entered our home we had him meet his new doctors including a dentists. At first the dentists said he did not like to treat children under three. I explained that we had a court order from Logan’s Judge requiring regular dental examines beginning by age two. I also explained that I had some concern about Logan’s teeth being discolored. They were kind of grey and translucent looking to me. I thought that they had been neglected and needed to be checked out. Our dentists agreed and we went to see him.

Logan was pretty scared during the whole visit and did not really understand what was happening. I was right there with him the whole time and little by little the dentists was able to do an exam. At first the dentists thought Logan may have some damage due to a fluoride overdose either from a water or toothpaste source. It turned out that Logan’s teeth were just really dirty. His teeth needed to be cleaned. The nurse and I had to forcibly hold Logan in the chair (keeping his head still and his mouth open) while the dentist attempted to polish his teeth. We finally got it done, but I was a total wreck by the end of the visit and felt so guilty for putting Logan through this. It had to be done, but at the time I felt so bad that Logan was crying, screaming and struggling because he was scared and confused. At the age of two Logan had a full set of healthy teeth.

The dentists explained that children under three should not use fluoride toothpaste. (Younger toddlers tend to swallow toothpaste in excessive amounts, and this may lead to fluorosis, which causes discoloration of the teeth.) Getting children into the routine of brushing their teeth from and early age is what is important so he suggested a non-flouride brand that is safe for children if they swallow any of it. We chose the Orajel Toddler Training Toothpaste product. The dentist said we could begin using fluoride toothpaste when Logan could take a sip of water, swish it in his mouth and spit out the entire amount without swallowing anything. Logan began using fluoride toothpaste at the beginning of this year at the age of four. We chose the Aquafresh Bubble Mint product.

It has been a struggle to get Logan to brush his teeth with any regularity so for awhile we would settle for him brushing them while he was taking his nightly bath. Usually it was just the toothbrush but without any toothpaste. Since Logan did not brush his teeth before bedtime he would wake with the worst breath — “dragon breath”. This has become our little catch-phrase to let Logan know he needs to brush his teeth. It is working beautifully. After his morning milk and before we leave for school he knows he needs to brush to get rid of “dragon breath”. At night, usually after his bath, “dragon breath” has returned and he wants to get rid of it. We joke with him saying he can not kiss Papa or Daddy until his “dragon breath” is gone. After brushing, he exhails a big “minty-fresh non-dragon breath” and we get big hugs and kisses.

Oh, by the way: Logan is not scared of the dentists and likes his teeth cleaned. Now, if we could only get him to allow the x-rays to be done. I don’t blame him really. I hate those hard plastic and metal bite plate needed to take the X-rays.


One Comment to “Dragon Breath”

  1. My Jackson struggles with brushing his teeth, but at the dentist today he got a thumbs up because he is doing such a good job!

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