Sarah Stultz: It’s time to establish some new routines

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

On Monday I took my son to the dentist’s office.

To say it has been a challenge to teach my son how to brush his teeth and to follow through twice a day with that brushing has been an understatement to say the least. Not to mention encouraging him to tolerate some additional brushing from mom.

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Landon was pretty young when he had his first dental work done, and I remember at the time that happened feeling like such a failure as a parent that he had already had so many problems.

For a while after that, we faithfully attended his twice-a-year dental appointments, and things overall were going pretty well. Though we weren’t perfect, no new cavities arose for quite some time.

But after our insurance was no longer accepted at the dentist we had grown used to, we were forced to switch dentists and start over. I wanted to find somewhere he would feel comfortable with and who could respond to his needs.

More time than was recommended had passed since he had been to the dentist, and it has definitely shown in the results at our recent appointments.

I knew walking in this week that we probably weren’t going to get the greatest results, and that was definitely the truth.

Though Landon did fairly well with taking the X-rays, it did take a little longer than typical and we had only just begun with the cleaning when it was time for the dentist to come check on his teeth.

Needless to say, after looking at the X-rays, he told us about some cavities Landon had and recommended we go to a nearby pediatric dentist to get the work done and to do a more extensive teeth cleaning at that time.

Now, as we await the next followup appointment, my goal is to work on developing a new morning and evening routine with Landon and to try to help him make even more of a connection on the importance of taking care of his teeth.

His teacher at school has also agreed to help him in a few ways in his classroom.

If anyone has any tricks of the trade for teaching children about brushing teeth, send them my way.

I’m trying to keep in mind how hard it is to develop a new habit as an adult. I know there’s always room to grow.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.