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To think not brushing your children's teeth/teaching them how to is neglect?

(44 Posts)
frizzah Wed 18-Oct-17 02:34:03

I was looking after cousin's DC (3 under 6) for an hour while she went to a doctor appointment as her DH is at work.

The DC got up and I asked the eldest if he had brushed his teeth and he looked absolutely bewildered. He had no idea what I was going on about "no?" Was the reply I got in such a confused way and I thought that was ever so strange. So I did ask a couple more questions and it just appeared that it was such a rare occurrence. None have been to a dentist? Surely this is some form of neglect?

Bluerosethorns Wed 18-Oct-17 02:37:08

Yes it is. Infact adults who continue poor oral hygiene habits are at higher risk of mouth and throat cancers. So my dentist tells me.

Cavender Wed 18-Oct-17 02:39:01

Dentists advise that children are not left to brush their teeth in their own until they are 8 years old so it’s not strange that a child under 6 yo wouldn’t know how to do them on their own.

I don’t understand what you mean by “got up”? Do you mean woke up in the evening or woke up in the morning?

frizzah Wed 18-Oct-17 02:44:48

@Cavender you're missing my point completely. Of course I was going to help them. I have a 6 year old and to get him into routine I ask him to have a go himself and then I do. That's not the issue anyway, he clearly had no idea brushing teeth is supposed to happen twice a day let alone each day. He described his youngest brother being a baby so doesn't need his done (youngest is 3!)

It was the morning. I was there when they woke up to help get them ready while she was at emergency appointment at doctors.

MyDobbygotgivenasock Wed 18-Oct-17 03:43:35

3 under 6, I'm not saying I disbelieve you but I do believe in lost in translation errors. What are their teeth like? If you see them regularly do you often notice bad breath? If they aren't having their teeth cleaned daily then you'd also see any plaque or build up between each brushing and yellowing teeth. Do they all have toothbrushes and do they look used? If you have noticed obvious poor oral hygiene before and this has confirmed some concerns then yes you need to address it as an urgent matter but if their teeth look healthy, it's never registered with you before and they live with two, I assume, well adjusted adults I would be tempted to tread much, much more lightly.
Why would two perfectly adequate parents both be neglecting the teeth of three children? Are there other issues?
Absolutely parenting failures happen, sadly frequently, 6 year olds being mistaken or confused, not quite listening or understanding the question or just not being particularly aware of what's going on (with the baby's routine changes, say) happens probably 10 times as frequently.
Does it ring true to you?

MsPassepartout Wed 18-Oct-17 09:20:07

It's clearly not great parenting if their teeth are never brushed.

DS3 had his 9 month check with the Health Visitor a few weeks ago, and one of the things she asked was whether he was registered with the dentist (he is) and what our teeth brushing routine was for him, so I'm guessing a child rarely having teeth brushed would raise some flags if it came to the attention of Health Visitors / teachers etc.

Have you mentioned it to your cousin?

KrytensNanobots Wed 18-Oct-17 09:30:38

At 6 they should be brushing their teeth (supervised).
Even as babies, mine were brushing teeth the minute they popped through even though it was more of suck on the soft baby toothbrush at that age grin and were registered with a dentist.
Plus, I think you'd be able to tell if they never brushed their teeth, so could be a misunderstanding between yourself and the 6 year old.

Changerofname987654321 Wed 18-Oct-17 09:35:45

I would not assume that they don’t brush their teeth as a 6 year old could easily be avoiding tooth brushing. Did you look in the bathroom or anywhere else for tooth brushes? We do morning tooth brushing down stairs to save time.

If they are brushing their teeth then yes this is neglect.

Serious tooth brushing twice a day should start as soon as the first tooth appears.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Wed 18-Oct-17 09:39:49

I'd say to mum "cheeky monkey, he tried to tell me he didn't need to have his teeth brushed" and see what she says. My 3 year old says all manner of things and we do a lot of double checking to see if he really has had a vitamin/wee/brushed his teeth.

AlexsMum89 Wed 18-Oct-17 09:41:41

I had to ask myself the same question when DS was small. I tried everything to brush his teeth but I could not persuade him to either let me put the brush in his mouth or for him to do it himself. It went on and on, and eventually I thought to myself, I can't not clean his teeth - that's neglect surely? In the end I pinned him down and brushed his teeth despite his protests. That felt like abuse. Couldn't win, but he got over it eventually and at least his teeth didn't rot.

You can't always trust what a child says, but it does sound like they're not used to it.

RosyPony Wed 18-Oct-17 09:44:41

We're there toothbrushs in the bathroom?

FlandersRocks Wed 18-Oct-17 09:50:19

Not having been to a dentist isn't really a big deal IMO. Mine have only ever been three times and ds1 is 9, nearly 10.

Were there toothbrushes there or not?

namechangeforthisasouting Wed 18-Oct-17 09:51:12

Oh same here. We have brought every tooth brush on the market, the current one has disco lights hmm. She's got a lot better now but if her stubborn head is on it's done with force which I hate.
Do there teeth look neglected op ? I think you can be s fantastic parent but dc can just say one thing and it makes you look terrible. My kids have come out with some corkers over the years. Dd 13 was in the garden on Sunday trying to practice a back flip. Because I wouldn't get on the bloody trampoline and help her she shouted for all the neighbours to hear that I never help her with anything angry. Which is totally not true.

KitKat1985 Wed 18-Oct-17 09:56:56

I think it's pretty poor parenting to be honest. Whether I'd call it neglect it or not would probably depend on how the kids are cared for overall.

I have a friend who has never taken her daughter (nearly 12) to a dentist in her life, as she's dental phobic. I don't think she's neglectful exactly, but I do think that even if she can't take her daughter herself to the dentist then she should ask her Mum / Husband / Her DD's Dad to take her really.

ZippyCameBack Wed 18-Oct-17 10:03:20

One of mine would have said exactly the same and looked genuinely baffled at the very idea of brushing his teeth. Because he hates it. We have always been very strict about brushing twice daily, and they have excellent teeth, but that doesn't mean they like it and if someone new was looking after them, then they might well try the "Mummy doesn't make us" line.
Getting a dentist appointment can be really difficult in some areas. Here we didn't have a dentist at all for about 4 or 5 years. Even now, there is a waiting list of a couple of years for non-urgent adult appointments, although thankfully children are seen much more quickly.
Speak to your cousin before you judge her. How likely does it seem that her children's teeth are never brushed?

Impostress99 Wed 18-Oct-17 10:04:30


Impostress99 Wed 18-Oct-17 10:04:41

Oops wrong thread!!!!

passmethewineplease Wed 18-Oct-17 10:07:09

I wouldn't be too quick to judge. My DD has never liked having her teeth brushed. We have to pin her down and do it and even then she will bite the brush so it's still quite hard to brush but we try our best.

She's getting better but her teeth do have some discoloration. She doesn't have juice and doesn't really have a major sweetooth. The dentist said she could just have weak enamel or something like that. My other DC have perfect teeth.

On the face of it I might look "neglectful" but I can assure you we fight her daily just to brush her teeth!!

Children get an unbelievable amount of strength when they wish to fight something. My DP has to help and even he can't believe how strong she is.

These threads make me feel awful. blush

Shedmicehugh Wed 18-Oct-17 10:08:55

Have you asked your cousin?

Seems a bit harsh to accuse her of neglect without knowing!

AccidentalyRunToWindsor Wed 18-Oct-17 10:17:09

Ugh. I never get why kids don't want to brush teeth- it makes you feel so much better!

My DSS never brushes his teeth unless we tell him to go and do it. His breath stinks and he's lost an adult tooth already (he's 13)

namechangeforthisasouting Wed 18-Oct-17 10:23:35

Was you dsa prem baby ? It's quite common for them to have weak enamel

namechangeforthisasouting Wed 18-Oct-17 10:23:53

Dd sorry

Shedmicehugh Wed 18-Oct-17 10:27:10

Passthewine - I had the same problem, my ds has autism. He can not tolerate anything in his mouth (sensory issues)

Slightly better now he is older though.

x2boys Wed 18-Oct-17 10:31:05

Well i try but ds2 is severly autistic so it's a battle tbh he sees his special needs dentist every three months and shes keeping a close eye on his teeth.

user1495451339 Wed 18-Oct-17 10:37:37

He is only 6 so maybe is just trying to get out of it! Are there toothbrushes and toothpaste available to brush their teeth with? If there are chance are they do get brushed.

You don't sound very trusting of your cousin so I presume there are other issues.

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