How does my 4-year-old have cavities?

Welcome to my dental professional blog for parents.

My name is Chrissy Coruth, I am a pediatric and general dental hygienist but more importantly, I am a working parent who finally gets it. A lightbulb has finally turned on and I am so grateful it did! I chose to enter the dental field because I knew how important it was to have healthy teeth and I wanted to help people. I started my career in pediatrics and I am embarrassed to say that I used to judge parents all the time!! Well, that came to a giant halt when I started having kids of my own. Now my kids are now seven and nine years old and now I can’t help but feel for the parents. From new parents to parents of teenagers I feel for all of you. I wanted to start this blog for all those parents who walk into a dental office and walk out feeling overwhelmed, confused, guilty, and defeated. I have seen this happen TOO often throughout my clinical career and I want to share some insight to make you feel better. You are not alone!!!

I myself had a dental experience with my second child that I was not prepared for. I brought both of my kids for their first dental appointment at age 1 because it’s recommended for a first dental visit be 6 months after their first tooth erupts or by the age of 1.

Fast forward to ages 4 and 6. My 6-year-old had another great cavity-free check-up. So, I was shocked by the news that Tommy had 6 cavities! I mean 6 CAVITIES on my little 4-year-old son, I’m a hygienist, my kid can’t have 6 cavities!? So many emotions just roll over you especially when you feel like you did everything right. However, because I have been the hygienist delivering this news to a parent before I knew that sometimes even if you do everything “right” genetics can be stronger than anything. I’m not claiming that Tommy’s diet didn’t contribute to these cavities, because you need more than just genetics to create a cavity, but I thought I did everything right. So I did review everything with Tommy’s hygienist. Through discussing and reviewing Tommy’s daily diet I discovered that he was drinking juice every day at school.

Acceptance was my next wave of emotion. I accepted that my perfect little guy had 6 cavities. It made me sad for him and I felt like I failed him, and the funny thing is I know better than to feel that way. As a parent, though you can’t help it, you love your kids too much and only want the best for them. So just remember you are still a great parent if your kid has cavities and your not alone, and here at Haas Dental, we have a judgment-free zone.