I hate to talk about this topic because it makes me feel like a bad mom. I know people judge me and think that I don’t teach my daughter proper oral hygiene. They probably think that I don’t brush her teeth at all.
But the truth is – even during the worst of times, when I used to have to wrestle my daughter to the ground to get her to brush her teeth because her sensory issues were so bad that a tooth-brush terrified her and made her have a tantrum, I made sure she brushed her teeth every day, at least twice a day. Even now, I still brush her teeth for her so that I know it is done thoroughly and correctly.
Regardless, she has unbelievable amounts of plaque on her bottom two teeth that can literally accumulate overnight. No joke – I scrape it off with my dental pick at night and by the next morning, it’s back like a bad dream!
I hope that I am not alone because I have noticed that several other (certainly not all) children with autism don’t have the pearly whites that we in America all strive for. I think this is due to the health issues sometimes associated with autism.
You may be wondering if Annie’s diet is to blame for her dental issues… thinking that maybe she eats sugary foods all day long. Let me assure you this is not the case. Annie is on a gluten-free, casein free, soy free, corn free, Paleo, organic, rotation, no sugar diet. She eats organic meats, lots of vegetables, fruits (not too much), and a few gluten-free grains. It is not sugar nor lack of nutrients that causes Annie’s mouth issues.
I know Annie’s ongoing mouth issues are linked to her remaining digestive and health issues. While her health has improved dramatically (along with her symptoms of autism – see Annie’s Recovery Story), her immune system is clearly still not one hundred percent. One of the ways her immune/digestive system deficiencies manifest is by creating plaque in her mouth and wearing away her tooth enamel.
“The mouth is a portal into the rest of the body,” said Dr. Donald Ratcliffe, chairman of the department of dental medicine at Staten Island University Hospital. Growing research shows “there’s a relationship between the bacteria — and the inflammation that bacteria cause in the mouth — [and] a lot of other diseases,” he said.
My daughter came home crying the other day because a boy at school had told her, in a rather not nice way, that she has tooth decay. She is now at the age (age 9) where she is aware that she is different and it hurts her. And that, in turn, hurts me. What am I supposed to do? How can I help her?
I talked to my homeopath about all of this and she helped me come up with a new plan that I am excited about. So far, it really seems to be keeping the plaque in check. I can’t say it has repaired her tooth enamel yet, but the plaque is so much better that I had to share! Here’s what we’re doing:
- Hyland’s Calcarea Fluorica 6x – this is to remineralize her teeth that have been so badly damaged by the chronic plaque build up.
- Essential Oxygen Organic Brushing Rinse (fluoride-free) – works for all oral issues including whitening, gum pockets and receding gums, tooth sensitivity, bad breath, tartar, canker sores and toxic morning mouth. It does not contain any of the following: Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Flourides, Glycerin. Alcohol, Chlorine Bleach, or Pesticides. This is what I use to brush Annie’s teeth after every meal. It is a pain because it is a liquid but she loves the taste and we have gotten used to it.
- Citrus Tooth Swish – I put some of this powder in Annie’s mouth after she eats. She swishes it in her mouth to mix it with her saliva for a minute or so and then spits it out. It helps to neutralize food acids, promote salivation and bathe teeth with 84 ionic/colloidal minerals and trace elements. They make an unflavored version as well as other flavors like peppermint if you prefer.
- Pekana Lactic Plus – this homeopathic remedy helps to maintain the acid/alkaline balance in her mouth and body. Annie tends to be too acidic with causes tooth enamel to erode.
- I switched Annie to a Sonicare toothbrush that includes a UV sanitzer so that I would stop reinfecting her mouth with the same bacteria over and over again.
I’ll keep you posted about whether Annie is able to repair her tooth enamel and keep the plaque at bay. But in the mean time, if any of you parents out there have experienced dental issues and found ways to improve them, please write to me and let me know. I am desperate to figure this out for my daughter. Thanks in advance for your help and advice!