Accepting the Ugly Truth About “Bad Teeth”, and How to Fix Them


Not all dental issues in children stem from their eating or brushing habits. Some are just born with, “Bad Teeth.” Read on to discover what you can do about it!

First, I owe some of you mamas an apology. I judged you. I took one glance at your child, saw the metal in their mouth, and assumed that you were a bad parent. Those assumptions lead me to believe that your pantries at home were filled with orange soda, jumbo bags of chips and gallons of gummy bears. I thought I was better than you. I was wrong.

I now, too, have a metal-mouthed kid.

See, I thought I was rocking at motherhood. We didn’t give our child sweet treats or candy. She snacked on fruits and veggies. We stayed away from junk food and fast food. I made homemade treats and cut out the sugar where I could. Today, at age 4, she doesn’t know what McDonald’s is, and she would prefer an apple over a lollipop. She’s never had a soda.

I didn’t think I would ever have to worry.

However, her first dentist appointment was a real disappointment. The doctor informed us that she had some “problem areas” he wanted to keep an eye on. So, I did a little research and switched kinds of toothpaste, and purchased what I thought were better toothbrushes to attack the issue.

I became even more strict about what I purchased for our family to eat. I insisted that she brush twice a day without exception. I became the treat bag police – scouring whatever she brought home for the undesirable goodies I felt were bad for her.

Today, my daughter has one metal crown and a filling. In a couple weeks,  she is due to have three additional fillings put in to address three cavities. A few weeks later, she’ll have two more done.

I felt deflated when I heard the news. I asked the dentist why at such a young age, she’s having so many issues when neither my husband nor I have any. He simply looked at me with a sincere smile and said, “Some people just have bad teeth.”

This was neither comforting nor reassuring. I wanted to fix it! I wanted to be able to control the progression with diet and special dental products. I wanted to give her a pearly white smile that said to the world, “I have a good mommy who cares about my teeth.”

So now we’re in preservation mode, hoping the adult teeth that come in are in better shape. In the meantime, she will have additional x-rays, and the dentist will look closely at problem areas and create a plan of action for each tooth. In the meantime, I’ll try my hardest to focus on what I can control and breathe deeply through the rest.

Here are a few ways you can be proactive:

  • Schedule your Little One for their first appointment with a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Most offices call this a “lap visit.” The dentist will have your child sit on your lap while they take a preliminary look at their mouth. This typically takes place sometime between age 1 and 18 months.
  • Begin brushing as soon as the first teeth come in. There are some nifty toothbrushes on the market that fit over your finger and allow you to easily get access with a squirmy toddler.
  • Don’t neglect the gums. Brush your child’s teeth and gums twice a day and use dental floss to prevent food from getting trapped between teeth.
  • It’s not normal for a child to have bad breath, even in the morning. If you notice that your child has bad breath often, see your dentist.
  • Trust your gut. Do what feels best for your children and family.
  • Ask lots of questions!