Let’s review: Beware “Big Floss”

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We survived almost all of human history without it. Yet in the last 100 years people have allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by a huge corporate conspiracy into believing that we “need” their products. They cite studies and claim we don’t understand science; they ignore ancient folk wisdom and have no respect for our intuition. They peddle their products without regard to the dramatic increase in chronic diseases and weakened immune systems of recent decades. I’m speaking, of course, of “Big Floss.”

It’s time to take our mouths back from corporate domination. It’s time for alternative dentistry.

It’s time to take our mouths back from corporate domination.

To hear the corporate “tools” of Big Floss tell it, we need to use their products not simply every day, but many times a day. They’ve created a seemingly limitless array of products that they are forcing, literally, down our throats. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, mouth wash! There appears to be no end to the number and type of products they insist we must buy to fuel their corporate ambitions. And even if we behave like sheep and buy their tainted wares, their allies the dentists insists that we must visit them not merely once a year, but twice.

We’re supposed to believe that we benefit from this meddling with the natural order. Really? So please explain how the human race survived just fine to this point without Big Floss. Clearly we didn’t need toothbrushes to survive and even thrive. So why, suddenly, should we be gullible enough to believe that every person should brush his or her teeth after every meal? Has there been even a single randomized controlled double blind study that proved that brushing saves teeth? No, there hasn’t.

Big Floss insists that it has a product for every person, often more than one. Toothpaste to prevent cavities, toothpaste for kids, toothpaste for dentures. Is there any limit to what they will sell in order to increase their profits? And are we really supposed to believe that four out of five dentists recommend Crest? Where’s the data for that claim?

They tricked people into brushing ever day and using toothpaste each time, but that’s not enough for Big Floss. They say that toothpaste prevents plaque buildup and then they turn around and insist that we need mouthwash, too, to kill the harmful germs that cause plaque. Do we look that gullible? And what’s wrong with plaque anyway? It’s natural and probably exists to strengthen our immune system, which has been weakened by constant exposure to toxins and Frankenfood.

Big Floss is not content with tricking us into buying toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash. They insist that we see a dentist twice a year. If their products are so great, why would we ever need to see a dentist? We wouldn’t, but the unholy alliance of Big Floss and Dentistry has colluded to increase the profits of both. Don’t believe me? The dentist always tells you that you should brush every day, and Big Floss always recommends dental checkups. What more evidence do you need?

It’s time to end our reliance on Big Floss. It’s time for alternative dentistry. Those who truly educate themselves about teeth in nature know that toothbrushes and toothpaste are unnecessary. If our ancestors didn’t need them, we don’t need them, either. We can care for our teeth with a diet of fruit, vegetables and vitamin supplements.

In the rare situation in which more is needed, we can dose ourselves with ancient herbs or pull out rotten teeth the natural way, by tying a string around the both the tooth and the doorknob and giving the door a big shove. Forget novocaine. Why would we dose ourselves with medication to numb the pain of a tooth extraction? Those who really care about their teeth want to savor every natural feeling, not deaden it with chemicals.

And let’s not forget preventive care. If you want to be sure that you have healthy teeth, all you need to do is buy powdered Bio-identical Teeth®. Unlike artificial toothpastes or mouthwashes, powdered Bio-identical Teeth® is all natural, made from human teeth with no fillers or animal products. Because it is “bio-identical” it is more effective than artificial toothpaste could even be.

It’s time to unite and fight the corporate conspiracy of Big Floss. No more toothbrushes, no more toothpaste, and no more visits to the dentist. Let’s live as Nature intended with no artificial colors or preservatives. Let’s care for our teeth naturally for as long as they last.

Brought to you as a public service by the American Pureed Food Industry

This piece first appeared in October 2009.

  • Cobalt

    Maybe breastfeeding rates wouldn’t drop so dramatically in the first eight weeks if the “rules” didn’t make it so hard.

    • Daleth

      In other words, do nothing but breastfeed. Um. That’s insane.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Yeah, sure.
      Something that often comes to mind about this sort of advice is that it assumes that mom has a local, reliable extended family and/or a partner with extended parental leave. In most situations, this is (sadly) just not the case.
      1) Offer the breast every single moment the baby is upset. So every time the kiddo cries, sit down to nurse? Seriously, that just isn’t feasible for anyone with more than one kid at home unless they also have a full-time maid or something. This is especially true of newborns, who (at least in my limited experience with DD) seem to spend much of their lives crying.
      2) Cosleep. This would be INSANELY unsafe for us. DH is a deep sleeper who needs lots of blankets and pillows. I need at least a pillow and a blanket, even in warm weather. I can’t sleep if anyone makes noise near me–that’s why we moved DD to her own room at three months.
      3) Oh good, so I can get up to pee more often than I already do? Also, “warm” water?! *gags*
      “Get everyone else around you to do as much as they can for you.” I can ask the toddler to vacuum, mop, and run laundry ’til I’m blue in the face, but much like teaching a pig to sing, it’ll do nothing but waste my time and annoy the toddler. DH gets no parental leave beyond the time I’m in the hospital, and college students aside, our family is over a thousand miles away. My MIL can generally come out for a week in an emergency, but eight? The woman does have a life…

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        And they wonder why they get criticized for coming from a “position of privilege”?

        Although when I read the first point, I assumed it had to be joke. Offer a boob “every single moment” the baby is upset? That can’t be serious.

        There are countless ways to soothe a baby. Yes, if they are hungry, feed them. But if they just ate, try something else. Maybe you can consider why they are upset?

        Apparently, this is not something from “attachment parenting,” is it? Because “shove a nipple in their mouth” does not sound like it is being all that responsive to a baby’s needs.

        • Roadstergal

          “And they wonder why they get criticized for coming from a “position of privilege”?”

          Or for being anti-feminist. “Good news, you’re nothing of value aside from a secreting breast. You want a career, a life, anything that might take a minute of time away from having your breasts ready at an moment’s notice? You’re a Bad Mother.”

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            You know my mom did breastfeed me but I don’t consider that the best thing she ever did for me.

            Best thing she ever did for me was teach me how to use assorted power tools while she was a manager at Black and Decker. I can fix almost anything in my house now. I fix broken sprinkler heads and holes in the lines on my own. Saved probably thousands of dollars around the house.

            Didn’t involve her breasts at all except cursing at them getting in her way. Who’d have thunk a woman could contribute to society with her brain? Maybe we should treat them as more than a floating pair of tits.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Dang, I wish my mother did that! I’ve had to teach myself how to use most power tools, and while I’d say I’m pretty competent at a lot of them (I admit, I kind of lust after a tablesaw, but DH says not until there aren’t any kids in the house), there’s been quite a learning curve, and I can’t say I’m at nearly that level yet.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Being relatively broke for a while does wonders for your motivation in learning how to fix things yourself! Not that I advocate that at all!

            But if there are hardware shops in your area I know that like Home Depot has classes on Saturdays to teach new projects and how to use the tools needed for them that’s pretty hands on. Even stuff like setting and grouting tile if I’m remember the sign from last time I was in.

            …there’s also the classic of take something apart and put the pieces in the order you removed them and then put it back together for shits and giggles. Just work your way up from already broken stuff.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            *nods emphatically* Indeed! That’s how I learned how to do what I can. It started when I was an utterly broke college student with a book habit. Needed a place to store my books, so I built a bookcase, and it took off from there…

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            It’s a nasty and insidious line of thought.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Re privilege: precisely. And then when I point this out in certain circles, I’m looked at as though I have about six heads, as though the situation I described (mom with limited support) is somehow crazy and unusual. Ha, I say. Ha.
          Much though I dislike a lot of things about attachment parenting, I agree that this really doesn’t sound so much attachment-based as lactivism-based. Breastfeeding before all else!
          I can’t imagine my family is the only one that tends to function better with some sort of loose schedule, a reasonably tidy/organized house, and the certainty of “Dinner is planned, and will be on the table at X time.”

        • Inmara

          My brand new baby has issues with digestion (I assume it’s infant dyschezia) and offering him a boob whenever he needs to cry because of bowel movement would be utterly useless. After some bouts of crying he passes a stool and is again happy baby and ready to nurse.

      • Cobalt

        What got me on number 1 wasn’t so much time consumption (although that matters), but the drain on the sensory reserve. If breastfeeding meant near constant physical contact, typically with an irrationally cranky person, I wouldn’t have lasted 3 hours.

        For me it’s more like:

        1. Milk is a food. It’s for addressing hunger.

        2. Breasts produce milk. Use them when milk is required (see #1).

        3. For all other needs, see: arms, hands, pacifier, swing, acetaminophen, changing table, crib…

        I know a lot of people do differently, and can tolerate, utilize, or even enjoy non-nutritive nursing just fine. I can’t and I won’t I don’t and that’s ok. Milk does not equal love.

        PS I used the same rules when formula feeding, just substitute formula and bottle for milk and breast. Funny how no one says to give a bottle every time a baby squeaks, but breastfeeding should be constant.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          How many of those who think this list is good (esp #1) are anti-pacifier?

        • Young CC Prof

          I really hate this idea that the right way to breastfeed is constantly, and that trying to encourage the baby to take larger, less frequent feedings is abusive or at least less loving than feeding at literally every peep. If you’re feeding at every peep, you’re encouraging grazing. If you wait to reattach the baby until he actually appears to be hungry again, you’re encouraging meals. (Yes, some babies do need to eat more frequently than others, growth spurts and cluster feeding happen, but you don’t have to go out of your way to make it happen.)

          • demodocus

            Mine was a cluster feeder, but sometimes he was crying because the choir sang *wrong*!!!

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          And see, to me that sounds like a rational, healthy way of looking at things. The opposite translates to, basically, mom is the only person who can ever assuage an infant’s needs. Which is just not healthy.
          I’m sure there are women out there who don’t mind having a nonstop-nursing baby. That’s cool if it works for them. I’m introverted. I can only do so much physical contact with *anyone*, DH included, before I Need A Break Or I Will Scream.
          Also, teaching a kid that there are other ways to deal with unhappiness than milk can’t be that bad an idea. If the unhappiness is “I have an empty tummy,” milk is what’s required. If the unhappiness is “I’m a newborn and don’t understand ANYTHING and I’m disconcerted and therefore crying every time I so much as pass gas,” then wouldn’t it be doing the baby a lot more of a favor to teach them that a change of clothes/older sibling/fart/whatever isn’t The End Of The World, and ooooh, look, see that pretty tree waving in the breeze?

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Also, of course you shouldn’t give a bottle every time a baby squeaks! A bottle is cold and impersonal and stretches their poor little tummies all out of proportion! Breastmilk is liquid love, and a baby would never, ever eat too much of it!
          (See, for example, my goddaughter, who as an infant would literally gorge herself until she’d vomit because MILK IS SO YUMMY, and then do it all over again. Her mom, understandably, got more than a bit fed up with this, and started pumping/giving a reasonable amount of milk in a bottle rather than nursing for this reason. Kiddo was never happy when the bottle was empty, but since she was gaining well, not vomiting, and could be distracted from her annoyance at not getting more food right after a bottle, couldn’t have been especially hungry.)

        • demodocus

          And some of us produce so much milk so easily that there is no such thing as non-nutritive nursing. I’m trying to break *myself* from comfort eating, so why should we train our babies to it?

    • Trixie

      Well, the bit about needing to drink lots of water sure is true! Boy was I thirsty. Why does it have to be warm water, though. Do your breasts get confused if it’s cold water?

      • Roadstergal

        Maybe they’re going ‘up and down and also in circles’ because they’re confused? I shouldn’t be giggling like an 8-year-old at work.

  • Dr Kitty

    OT:
    I’m having a baby tomorrow!
    Planning to spend today doing some last minute housework, and we’re going to watch Star Wars as a family and eat my daughter’s favourite meal tonight, which was her choice of how to spend our last night as a family of 3 (have I told you my kid is amazing?).
    CS scheduled for 9:30am.

    I have decided all the people who brag about going post-dates just want more mommy martyr medals. The last week, when I have been 38 weeks, has suddenly got really hard work. 10 days ago I was at work, this morning I had to rest climbing up the stairs, and my husband has basically told me I have to stay home today. Am so glad my OB pushed for CS at 39w exactly and we don’t have to wait a day longer!

    • Hiro

      Congratulations! I know I don’t post much but I read here a LOT (regularly/daily for about 5 or 6 years now) and I enjoy your comments and what you bring to the discussions here in the comments threads. I’ve been quietly following along, and I wish you the best of luck, a swift recovery, and a healthy happy baby!!!

      • Dr Kitty

        Thanks!

        • Who?

          May the event itself be entirely routine. Congratulations!

    • Mattie

      Congratulations 😀 enjoy your c-section and hope the recovery is smooth and all goes to plan (or as to-plan as babies and birth can be). xx

    • Cobalt

      Best wishes for a safe and easy birth, a blissful and restful postpartum stay, and, above all, a healthy baby!

    • Montserrat Blanco

      Best wishes for you and your baby! I love your daughter .

    • Wren

      Hope to see you back telling us all about your birth experience, and more importantly your healthy baby and healthy you. Don’t forget the hat!

    • Daleth

      Yay! Best wishes! It does sound like your eldest kid rocks.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Congrats in advance, and may you have a lovely experience and a healthy, happy baby!

    • Amazed

      Good luck, Dr Kitty! We’re waiting for you to brag about your new kitten soon. Again, may the god of boring kindly look your way.

    • anh

      Best of luck!!

    • demodocus

      Good luck and may the new one be a good sleeper!

    • Megan

      So excited for you! Good luck!! Sounds like you have a fun pre-op evening planned! I will look forward to hearing your good news when you have time to post!

    • Laura

      Congratulations! I’m jealous that I have to wait two-ish more weeks before I can be induced for my cholestasis. Pregnancy is getting real pleasant over here….NOT

    • Inmara

      Congratulations, and wishing you a safe delivery and healthy baby!

  • Wombat

    I’ve regularly seen dentists who say that if someone would -actually- brush and floss after each meal or large snack, they could very easily forgo or at least significantly reduce their amount of dental checkups. Basically “I’d be out of a job” type comments.

    Unfortunately I just can’t quite seem to take it to heart. Brushing I have no problem with, it’s the damn flossing… /shudder. I don’t mind my waterpick (pic? I’ve never known) so much but it’s not very portable.

    So far *knocks extremely heartily on wood* it’s been ‘good enough’ but I know, logically, that I am probably just skirting by. Unfortunately that logic goes out the window when I pick up that little glossy white box.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      I think that can be true, especially if a person tends to have “good teeth” anyway.
      When I was in college, I was chronically broke, and couldn’t afford cleanings. I finally nerved up to see a dentist seven years after my last cleaning.
      The hygienist refused to believe it had been seven years, and said she didn’t really need to do anything. I suspect that was due to my brushing 2-3 times/day, drinking a LOT of water (ie, rinsing the stuff off my teeth), and fairly liberal use of sugar-free gum, especially after meals.

  • Froggggggg

    As a chronic non-flosser, I love this piece. Satire or not, I won’t let Big Floss and all their brainwashed, uneducated dentists bully me. 😉

  • Ardea

    Big Floss, because of Big Sugar. They’re in cahoots with Big Diabetes, too.

    • KarenJJ

      Big Belgian Chocolate and Big Red Wine keep me in cahoots with Big Floss. Some things feel worth it though.

  • Blythe Spirit

    I know this is not related to the message being conveyed, but almost all portraits dating back centuries never show teeth. They only smirk. Perhaps they are hiding the black abyss of tooth decay in their hideous maws.

    • Young CC Prof

      There’s much more direct evidence than that. Egyptian mummies show rampant tooth decay, even the younger ones. John Graunt’s study of London birth and death records in the 17th century revealed thousands of deaths attributed to tooth decay.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I’ve always know tooth decay can kill. In fact, we used to sing about it….

        Too ra ra boom da ray
        We have no school today
        Our teacher passed away
        She died of tooth decay
        We threw her in the bay
        She scared the fish away
        And when we fished her out
        She smelled like sauerkraut

  • Guest

    OT: Question for you OBs and CNMs, if you need to hook your arms under the baby’s armpits and help pull them out during delivery, does that mean there was a mild shoulder dystocia that was just easily resolved by that maneuver? Or is that somewhat common during vaginal delivery?

    • Guest

      Sorry…hook your fingers (not arms) under the baby’s armpits. I don’t even wanna think about trying to hook your arms…yowza!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        *cringes*
        *crosses legs*

      • Nick Sanders

        This one’s stuck! Nurse, get the crowbar!

        • Roadstergal

          And the WD-40!

    • CanDoc

      No. I do this all the time for the chunky monkeys who aren’t stuck but aren’t just sliding out on their own, either. Shoulder dystocia requires specific manoeuvres to get a truly stuck shoulder out from behind the pubic bone.

      • Guest

        Thank you so much for putting my mind at ease! My sister delivered at a birth center staffed by CPMs today and mentioned that they’d done this, and I was worried that she was downplaying a shoulder dystocia (she knew that I was nervous about that because her last baby was quite large, as was this baby).

    • Sony2282

      If the armpits are visible, the shoulders have already passed the pelvis and it is NOT a shoulder dystocia. I’m sure if they waited a second more or had her push again it wouldn’t have even be needed.

  • Jay Asper

    “Has there been even a single randomized controlled double blind study that proved that brushing saves teeth? No, there hasn’t.”

    Of course there hasn’t been. You can’t place people in clear clinical trials that are obviously deleterious for their health. That’s called ethics in research.

    Plenty of evidence that show good frequency and technique with brushing reduces the incidence of plaque and decay.

    And who on earth is the “American Pureed Food Industry”? Sounds like Big Baby food has an issue with Oral Health.

    • dbistola

      This piece was satire. She writes a lot of these.

  • Elaine

    I have definitely run across a lot of claims for “tooth soap” instead of toothpaste, cell salts, oil pulling, brushing with water only to avoid glycerin in toothpaste, and all other sorts of alternative dentistry garbage. I have a friend who isn’t even all that crunchy who thinks that getting dental work begets more dental work and that her mother was having problem after problem and when she quit going to the dentist all the problems went away… ugh.

    • Mattie

      I mean “all the problems went away” because she wasn’t finding out about them, same way that all pregnancies are low-risk if you never test for the alternative.

    • Wombat

      Oh the various alternative toothpastes out there get pretty crazy. Even if someone wants something “simple” the answer that’s least ineffective is usually baking soda paste, but then the nature nuts get crazy about ‘imbalance’ and it being too rough on enamel, and whatever other reason they’ve come up with this week.

      I really dislike mint or cinnamon flavors, for totally personal reasons, and looking for an alternative gets really dicey sometimes. I’ll google and get list after list recommending seemingly at least somewhat mainstream products like Toms while omitting that they’re fluoride free and other such things usually related to ‘oh noes chemicals’. I know to look/check, but I feel bad for any who don’t :c

  • swbarnes2

    Just curious, and maybe someone here knows the literature…is there any evidence that women in non-Christian countries, like China, countries where “She shall feel pain in childbirth” is not a widely held religious sentiment, are less likely to skip pain meds?

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      According to this article http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121013174113.htm , admittedly about 3 years old, only about 1% of women in China get epidurals. Which is sad and horrifying. It doesn’t discuss why that is; I’d hazard a guess–admittedly, it’s only a guess–that it’s a cost-based decision. However, it seems that if epidurals are available, a majority of women definitely want them. Also, they (unsurprisingly) led to a strong decrease in maternal-request C-sections. Excuse me while I watch a few NCB heads explode…

      • Roadstergal

        Yeah – if a C/S is the only way you get reliable pain relief, it’s going to tip a lot of women that way, who’d have thunk.
        I read that blurb, and it looks like three things happened when epidurals became available:
        -More women went to that hospital to deliver
        -C/S rates decreased dramatically
        -Episitomies decreased more dramatically

        They also said the babies were less stressed, but there’s no link to the actual paper, so I’m not sure how that was assessed.

        • Dr Kitty

          Also, in China, you get ONE baby.
          No worrying about future fertility, placenta praevia or accreta risks, uterine rupture in subsequent pregnancies or anything like that.

          And you want the delivery method that gives you the best chance of a healthy baby, because you’re not going to get to have more children to take care of you and their birth injured sibling.

          • Megan

            Didn’t they deftly lift the one child ban? It will be interesting to see if this changes anythng as far as obstetric preferences go.

          • Megan

            * recently, not deftly. Autocorrect…

          • Who?

            I think if a husband and wife are each only children, the couple are allowed two.

          • Roadstergal

            All of my friends and relatives who I can think of offhand (US and Europe) who have kids have either an only child or exactly one pair of siblings – I wonder if people are topping out at two, these days, by choice…

            And it does seem like intending only 1-2 would make a difference in the risk/benefit tradeoff of C/S? Especially as women are living longer and staying active longer, making pelvic floor issues later in life more of a concern.

    • jessiebird

      Most women in Japan do not have epidurals available. There’s a bit of just suffering through/enduring (gaman), a respected virtue there, but also expense I think as the system is socialized.

      • JellyCat

        I’ll totally get the epidural this time in socialized Canadian system 😛

      • swbarnes2

        Ah, okay, Japan is likely a better match to Western resources than China, thanks for the info. I wonder if men are less likely to use pain meds, or if suffering through pain in a medical setting is only a virtue for women…

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          Could be the culture of the family too.

          My dad’s side of the family is Danish and a lot cultural things from when our ancestors immigrated over stayed generations after they left Denmark.

          The Danish side of his family has always been cowboy up, walk it off, it’s not that bad, stop whining it’ll heal types. From what others of near 100% Danish lines say, their families are the same. Dad even carries some of with him now even though he should know better. His stoicism when it comes to pain nearly lost him one if not both kidneys because the ER nurse thought he wasn’t acting like he was in passing kidney stones pain and didn’t take him seriously.

          Mom’s side is a hodge podge of nationalities and cultures so they don’t have the same attitude towards pain and are more likely to over treat than not.

  • Trixie

    Yeah unfortunately in the last 6 years since you wrote this, Dr. Amy, alternative woo dentistry actually has become a thing. There are online support groups for oil pulling to heal cavities (use organic virgin coconut oil!), and going fluoride free.

    • demodocus

      I prefer to use slutty GMO coconut oil

      • Sarah

        How else can you be sure it will move from tooth to tooth?

    • Angela

      Yup! I was going to write something about this as well. I couldn’t believe it, but some people actually don’t brush their children’s teeth regularly or go to the dentist. They think you can heal cavities.

      I think at this point there are people who will be anti something just because it’s “mainstream.” If scientists and doctors are overwhelmingly in agreement about something, they’re going to do the opposite!!

      • Sarah

        I got into an argument with someone about GMOs. At first, I thought they were unclear on what the scientific consensus was, then I realized they were against the scientific consensus itself. I was really floored by it. Because people were in agreement on something, there had to be some sort of outside interest involved.

        • Ardea

          I have seen “consensus” attacked primarily by climate change deniers. These people have a very different world view, to the point that “consensus” might mean “conspiracy” to them.

      • Houston Mom

        I was looking up a pediatric dentist recommended by the pediatrician just this morning. She has one horrible Google review from an anti-fluoride parent who was mad she tried to speak to her about refusing fluoride treatment for her daughter’s teeth. She was also incensed that the dentist went ahead with the treatment and apologized afterwards saying she had forgotten and done it out of habit. The mother said her daughter had problems with her teeth and had had traumatic experiences with previous dentists. I couldn’t help thinking that fluoride refusal isn’t going to help much with preventing painful dental experiences for the kid and if the mother knew so much about teeth from her research why did she need a dentist?

        One thing that did concern me about this dentist is that she does not allow parents in the exam room with the children. Is this something that would bother other parents? I understand my presence could exacerbate his reaction to a painful or scary event but I still don’t like the policy. After reading the stories in the news about the Florida dentist Howard Schneider tying kids down and hitting them while their parents were barred from the exam room, I feel a bit uncomfortable that the dentist doesn’t want us in the room.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          DD’s not quite to the dentist stage yet, but yes, I’d be twitchy about parents not being allowed back with kids. Granted, Howard Schneider is anything but the norm, however…yeah. Twitchy. Really twitchy.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          One thing that did concern me about this dentist is that she does not allow parents in the exam room with the children. Is this something that would bother other parents?

          Initially it bothered us a little bit, but ultimately, no. Talking to dentist friends, their insight was, it’s probably for the best.

        • Dinolindor

          I’d be uncomfortable with it, and I know my son would be too (he’s 4). He asked to sit in my lap for his cleanings so far because he was a little anxious, and we did math problems on our fingers to help distract him/keep him still enough. I don’t see it going well without a parent with him, and I don’t see how he could be in the minority for kids his age.

          • Houston Mom

            Thanks. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who is uncomfortable about the no-parents policy.

          • Sarah

            I would be. My young child wouldn’t be going to a dentist with this policy.

          • Dr Kitty

            What my dentist does is this, tiny kids are encouraged to come with their parents for check ups, so you model how to behave for them. There is a chair for them to sit on, or they can sit on your lap.

            Then, once they are two, they sit on your lap and the dentist looks at their teeth.Then, at the next visit, they sit on your lap and the dentist counts their teeth.Then, at the next visit they sit on your lap and the dentist cleans their teeth.Then, at the next visit you sit on the chair and watch them have their teeth cleaned.

            Then, at some point, when everyone is comfortable, you leave them in the room alone while they have their checkup.There is always a dental assistant present as well as the dentist.

            Because I have a phobia of dentists and would fail even at step one, DH takes kiddo with him. She’s perfectly happy for him to leave the room.

          • momofone

            This is what my dentist does as well. It has worked well for us. Now my son (8) asks me to wait in the reception area while he goes back alone.

        • An Actual Attorney

          Eh, depends. How big are the rooms? I can imagine a parent just getting in they way. I also know that my son behaves so much better for everyone else on the planet besides me, which is apparently not uncommon. Maybe kids are just better behaved without the parents there?

          • Houston Mom

            I’m not sure how big the rooms are. He did well at his last check-up – 2 shots and a blood draw with no tears but I was holding him on my lap. He’s definitely better behaved around others than with me or my husband.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Others have mentioned possible issues with a) the kid being better-behaved for others and b) space. I imagine that one way of handling that could be to have the kid come back alone, but with the understanding that mom/dad could step back there to cast an eye over the proceedings at any time. I suspect the prospect of mom walking in would seriously reduce the likelihood of any shenanigans going on while also giving the dentist plenty of space to work on the patient.

        • Taysha

          I leave the room to check on both kids during cleanings. They do better on their own than with me because it’s no longer a “show mom/ask mom/talk to mom”.
          My daughter refused to have the fluoride treatment because she didn’t want her teeth “painted” (as the tech called it). She was fine with it when we asked if she’d like her teeth “tickled”.

          I wonder how much of the mother’s combative stance had to do with the daughter’s trauma.

        • Liz Leyden

          My kids’ dentist (who also sees adults) has open cubicles, with low walls and enough room for 2 adults and a double stroller. I only saw a dentist 3 or 4 times as a child, but his exam room had a very large window on the lobby side. Parents could see everything from the waiting room. Maybe the dentist you’re interested in has a similar setup.

          • Roadstergal

            That’s how my dentist works as well, although the rooms would never fit a stroller. Very small, room for only about two, but they’re very open cubicles. You can hear and see very well from the waiting room, if you get up and walk to the desk. (There is a small, barely-toddler-sized chair in the corner of each room, and a toddler + patient + provider would be capacity for sure). Maybe tour the place? It would be obvious right away if shenanigans were even possible. The practice I go to is wonderful, gentle, friendly, and totally un-woo, and I’d hate for anyone to avoid it without seeing how open it is. 🙂

        • Mattie

          It does bother me a little that the dentist has a no parents policy and also gave fluoride treatment without consent, even when you disagree with medical treatment options made by woo parents you have to respect their right to make those decisions. If her refusal to allow parents also leads to her just doing what she thinks is best even without consent it is a little concerning =/

          Obviously this may have just been an honest mistake, and it didn’t do any damage.

          • Houston Mom

            The fluoride treatment part bothered me too. What if the girl had a major medical issue and the dentist just forgot about it? I don’t want my kid’s dentist on autopilot.

    • Roadstergal

      The first time I encountered an anti-vaccine type (my cousin on FB, WTF?), a good friend of hers was also an anti-fluoridation type. They had plenty of other woo between them, but those were the two that I really thought _had_ to be a joke. Tom’s of Maine has a business model based on distrust of Big Floss.

      • Alcharisi

        Although I have to admit, I still buy Tom’s toothpaste (the kind with fluoride!) because I can’t stand the super-sweet taste of most others.

    • Roadstergal

      Also, there’s nothing new about anti-fluoride sentiment:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr2bSL5VQgM

  • MaineJen

    Trust plaque!

    • Sarah

      It’s like a warm fuzzy blanket for your teeth!

  • Megan

    I removed a severely abscesses tooth using the doorknob method above. I was having “surges” of discomfort in my mouth for days but I knew they were just preparing me for the tooth to come out. When my tooth told me it was time I prepared my organic hemp string, turns on relaxing music and turned down the lights. It took a few tries but finally worked. The pain was orgasmic for me because I embraced it, breathing through it and using hypnosis, knowing I was taking care of my mouth the natural way. My neighbor had the same problem and went to the dentist and got a root canal with anesthesia. Obviously I am a dental warrior and she is not! I am far superior to her and told her that if she really cared about her teeth she wouldn’t be taking the easy way out. Her dentist just wanted to use interventions and get the tooth out fast so he could get to his golf game. I made sure to post a video of my dental experience on Facebook so everyone could see me for the dental warrior and tooth goddess I am!

    /satire

    • Sarah

      I asked for organic medicine when I had my wisdom teeth removed. They hit me over the head with a hammer.

      • Megan

        They must have had people with similar requests in their “tooth plans” before! 😉

      • mabelcruet

        Call that organic? Hammers are man made and tools used by the foolish and unwise who don’t have the sacred knowledge. You should have insisted that they used a large stone from the riverbed-now thats organic!

        • Young CC Prof

          Rocks aren’t organic, either. They’re silica. It’s got to be a wooden club.

          • mabelcruet

            What if it was a fossilized dinosaur bone? You know, from the time when nature was pure and natural and absolutely safe and would never, ever harm anyone? You know, because it’s ‘natural’.

          • Mattie

            how about a bit of the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs, the nice safe natural meteorite

    • sdsures

      Bwahahahahaha!

    • Roadstergal

      Good for you for waiting until it was time. Teeth aren’t library books. They know when to come out.

  • SporkParade

    There actually is “alternative dentistry.” I learned this during a discussion in a mothers’ group about water fluoridation.

    • sdsures

      My mother-in-law owns “fluoride-free” toothpaste. It’s the colour of mushroom soup. The one time we stayed overnight, and were too exhausted from driving down to Solihull (Midlands) from Saltcoats (Scotland), to try and dig out our toothpaste from our luggage. And luggage it was indeed – we were moving house!

      I opted for vigorously brushing with my brush and some (thankfully fluoridated) tap water.

      • mabelcruet

        I have a friend (well, facebook acquaintance!) who makes her own toothpaste, heaven knows what goes into it but I know she uses honey as a natural sweetener. Honey, for toothpaste. But it’s natural, so its bound to be better than any man-made stuff and if she gets caries it can’t possibly be due to honey….

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Honey?!?!!!
          *facepalm*
          Reminds me of the moms on the local nursing support page who keep insisting to their dentists that their three-year-olds cavities can’t POSSIBLY be caused by nursing on demand all night because breastmilk is liquid gold and can’t cause tooth decay.
          Also, on a more limited scale, of some friends who think that Toothpaste Is Evil (probably due to fluoride) and who brush with baking soda only, then spend thousands of dollars every year at the dentist on crowns and such. But baking soda is natural! Brushing with it several times a day couldn’t possibly be causing tooth erosion, right?

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            I have a friend who has nursed two children through age three including overnight. They have both had significant dental issues and she has spent a ton of money repairing the decay and she blames the nursing. Having recently had her third child, she is going to do things differently to avoid the same situation.

            I’m still kicking myself for giving 2 of my kids occasional bottles at bedtime when I was desperate because they’ve had a few cavities each.

          • Kelly

            I am glad she was willing to admit that breastfeeding caused the problem.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            I think if it had been more limited, it probably wouldn’t have been as big of an issue. But she thinks it was the unfettered access and needing to nurse in order to sleep that were the biggest culprits. I have breastfed all of mine but try to limit overnights somewhere between a year and 18 months. Minor issues with cavities but nothing too serious.

          • Young CC Prof

            Definitely. Breastfeeding, even extended breastfeeding, doesn’t cause tooth decay. Round-the-clock on-demand feeding after tooth eruption does.

            Generally, babies old enough to have teeth should be taking larger and less frequent feedings than newborns, and (except in special cases) don’t have a biological need to eat in the middle of the night.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Unless you are talking about one of my kids who got teeth at 4 months, was and is a little on the skinny side, and was and is a grazing eater. That kid drove me NUTS trying to keep weight on him but not be up all night feeding either. Crazy kids, lol!

          • Kelly

            It is like when they tell you to not allow the baby to have bottle to go to bed. The milk stays in the mouth and decays the teeth. It is just there are some radical people who think breast milk is so special, that it could never do that.

        • sdsures

          *double facepalm*

  • Sarah

    Unfortunately there are people who think fluoride is a huge conspiracy to make people dumb. I have heard reports of increasing numbers of children who have several cavities and some have attributed this increase to use of “nursery water” and fluoride free “natural” toothpastes.

    • Megan

      And don’t forget about how fluoride causes testicular cancer and infertility in boys!

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        Or mind control… That’s a big one for people in my graduating class. Flouride is what allows government mind control.

        There’s a reason I staunchly refused to go to my ten year reunion.

        • Megan

          Oh geez.

    • Roadstergal

      Not that all of these conspiracy theories aren’t dumb, but the water fluoridation = ‘unnatural’ and bad for humans one might be the dumbest. The reason we know fluoride in water is good for teeth is from observing outcomes in children who grew up in locales with lots of ‘natural’ fluoride in the water!

      In many places in the US, municipal water is treated to _reduce_ the ‘natural’ fluoride levels to the ideal concentration to get all the benefits without the side effect of discoloration.

      The ‘natural’ crowd should be out and about overdosing on fluoride, given their attitude towards ‘natural’ vitamins.

    • Liz Leyden

      When I was in high school, a local town considered fluoridating its water supply. Lots of elderly people panicked, calling it a Communist plot. This was in central Massachusetts in the mid 1990s.

      More recently, I’ve heard fluoride opponents call fluoride toxic waste or industrial waste.