The Care of Children by the Parent, Physician and Dentist

By DAVID B. HILL, D.D.S. Salem, Oregon

            The following article by Dr. Hill is presented to aid those who are interested in preparing discussions for public dental health talks. This can be used verbatim or altered to suit the individual needs. Next month Dr. Hill will present another article. We suggest to those who are planning talks to lay groups to preserve these articles for future reference.

Socrates, in his appeal to the Senate, asked, “Are you not risking the greatest of your possessions, for children are your riches and upon their training for well or ill depends the whole order of their father’s house.” Yet until the last few years we have not concerned ourselves very greatly for child health and protection. Only a few years ago the newspapers and insurance company staticians over the country were publishing that it cost $7,238.00 to raise the average child to its eighteenth year. As if that were important. We older people know that the average child is worth more than $7,238.00 every year of his life in the eighteen years. It is for children that we live, work and have our being by Divine command.

The mother who has raised to the age of eighteen years, a clean, healthy, intelligent and good principled boy, has given to the world what can not be appraised in dollars and she has also put into it that which is without price, an investment in the progress upward of humanity.

Thanks to such mothers as these, working through agencies such as Child Health, Child Welfare, Child Educational Organizations, the Medical and Dental associations and Parent-Teacher Associations, we are now looking at raising children in a more wholesome manner and the children of tomorrow, because of the environment brought about by these organizations, will have every opportunity to be healthy, happy and courageous.

This talk has to deal with the welfare of the child and anyone who has a position for the molding of the child should bear in mind that the mind of a child is as tender and lovely as the petals of a full blown rose. Beware how you touch it. Meet it with all the reverence of your being and use it with gentle respect. Fill it with the honey of love and the tenderness of tolerance.

Most children have their likes and dislikes for a dentist or physician established, long before their first visit, by the suggestions or remarks made by the parents or immediate family.

If you would have your child meet the problems of life in the easiest way, teach him to be obedient to the rules of the game. Teach him to distinguish between sentiment and sentimentality. Teach him neither to proffer nor receive cheap praise. If he is called upon to suffer, teach him to suffer in silence and make the best of it. Teach him to win, if he may; if he may not, teach him to be a good loser. Teach him neither to cry for the moon nor to cry over spilt milk.

Some things for the parents themselves to consider. If your child does not take to these things well, it may not be his fault and before deciding where the responsibility should lie, you might ask yourself the following questions: Do you teach your child to be prompt, systematic and careful of others’ feelings? Do you furnish your child with suggestions of encouragement and example, allowing him to choose his course: Do you encourage him to appreciate his own work regardless of the work or what others say? Are you willing to accept your child as he is and show confidence in his work and respect his personality? Before correcting your child, do you have patience to wait for him to confide? Does it disturb you because your neighbor’s child is more advanced than your own? Do you discuss problems and short comings with others in his presence? Are you ambitious for your child to lead his class; he may not be a leader?

These are some of the general rules that I have found in my long work for children that make very difficult situations and that have much to do with the behavior of a child in the dental office or any place.

There are reasons for a happy, healthy and active child and there are also reasons for a whining, anemic and critical child and it is well to look into the child’s health and care before definite action is taken.

With our present knowledge of things pertaining to the health of children it should be useless to advise that it is economy and the wise thing to keep the child in the care of a family physician and dentist. A careful checkup on health should be made each year. Very early in life the child should be vaccinated for smallpox, immunized for diphtheria and have the tuberculin test. These preventives are usually good for the school life of the child unless there is an epidemic and then a checkup should be made. You should bear in mind that if the child is very much underweight of overweight, something is wrong and it is economy and wise to find out what that something is as soon as possible. It is also wise to know that a sick tooth, a sore ear or a pain anywhere often means sick muscles,

heart and brain and no one but a competent physician can find the cause and advise treatment. Eye strain often causes headaches, nervousness and backwardness in school, therefore, the eyes should be examined by a competent man at least once a year.

After the child has been checked for these defects then you should know how to keep him well. From the standpoint of good health, diet is of primary importance. Mechanical treatment and medicine meet with the fullest measure of success only when due consideration is given to dietary factors. Teeth, bones, muscles and brain are not fixed, inert supporting tissues like the lumber, brick and cement in this building but are very live body tissues which can be maintained properly only when the nutritional needs are adequately met. We should bear in mind that a sick, under-nourished child means sick, soft teeth, bones, muscles and brain. It is foolish to believe that this condition does not affect all these tissues.

The common foods are the best and the least expensive. The average child should do well on a diet consisting of milk, bread, leafy vegetables and fruit with a liberal amount of eggs, butter and meat. A very small quantity of candy and sweets should be eaten and these should follow meals. Four to six glasses of water should be taken each day. The growing child should have from ten to twelve hours sleep in a well ventilated room. Exercise outside in the sunshine each day. Breathe deeply through the nose with lips closed tightly. Stand and walk erect. Cleanliness, good mental habits and a contented mind.

The first, or so called baby teeth, should have the attention of a good dentist who understands and knows how to work with children from the age of two years. Stain should never be allowed to accumulate on the teeth and all cavities should be filled at the very start of decay and kept filled. Decayed children’s teeth will do more harm to the health, face and permanent teeth in a few months than the same trouble in adult’s teeth will do in years. It is unfortunate for the children that this is not well known. Parents must appreciate that the same material is used for the child as for the adult and the work is much harder, so the expense is as great and often greater for children. Young children with decayed teeth should see a dentist every few months because teeth of this structure do not hold fillings well and if they are kept filled so the child can eat the proper food the teeth will become stronger.

With these rules, proper home care and regular visits to the physician and dentist, you have a right to expect a healthy child and good teeth. At home the teeth must be thoroughly cleaned and polished at least twice a day. Brush all five parts of every tooth, the top, the outside, the inside, the two in betweens and the gums, cheeks and tongue, brushing the gums toward the teeth. A tooth brush will not clean where it does not touch. It requires about two minutes to thoroughly clean the teeth. Use a good tooth brush and good dental cream or powder. It is poor economy to buy a cheap brush or cheap dental cream or powder. They do little good and often harm. Buy a new brush when the bristles begin to break down.

There are several good reasons why children’s teeth should be kept in good condition which are not visible to the parent until the effect is noticed in later life. Decayed and abscessed teeth discharging pus into the child’s system and irregular and sore teeth which prevent the child from chewing the hard, coarse foods that are necessary to the teeth and body’s welfare, does a fair amount of damage to the child and quite frequently goes on into adult life. We are only now learning that so many of our diseases make their start in childhood and that so many of them, if not properly cared for, leave an effect on the child that is a handicap through life and it is definitely known that anything which lowers the vitality, increases and certainly a mouth full of decayed and infected teeth lowers the vitality.

The baby teeth have another function that is hard for parents to realize. They hold the space and develop the jaw for the permanent teeth. A good many of these hideous faces and irregular teeth that so mar the child’s face and effect his whole life, could have been avoided with a small amount of dental work in early life.

A large majority of our children are hampered in their work and play and in the serious business of adult life by irregular teeth and malformed jaws. There is no need for your children to be handicapped through life with these deformities. Such malformations check normal growth, stunt mental development, sap vigor and disease resistance, and cause an inferiority complex. All of these conditions can be restored to strength, beauty and normal efficiency. What orthodontia and dentistry have done for childhood in the correction of diseased teeth and facial deformities has produced incalculable happiness and content where otherwise these lives would have dragged on in mental and physical anguish because of their peculiar facial deformities and the effect of diseased conditions that could have been corrected.

In the last few years, the people of the world have been brought face to face with the fact that gold is not our goal. We have been hunting for health and happiness as though they were a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when they are to be found in the simple living, in unselfish work, in one’s home with our children, in a baby’s gurgling laugh, in our churches. We have overlooked the fact that since the beginning of time, health and happiness have been mankind’s greatest treasure and that they come first of all in importance. The race belongs to the strong and happy. Other conditions being equal, those with abounding health are those that prevail. There are only a few examples of men and women who have performed great services for humanity despite bodily weaknesses. If you want boys and girls to be good teachers, good ministers, good doctors, nurse, lawyers, in fact, god in any walk of life, they must develop and maintain strong bodies. They might succeed without it but they would be one in a million. The handicap is so great.

Over two thousand years ago it was said, “Train your child in the way the should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” In Rome it was wise to do as Romans did. In present day America it is wise to keep in step with things as they are in America. The training and development of youth in the ways of health and success today are difficult problems. In these troubled times it is a problem to be weighed very carefully because we can not permit our children to pay the sad price of this economic confusion. The road we plan for them must not lead to sorted politics, preverted ego or a pot of gold. It must lead to health and happiness, the golden rule and the principles laid down in The Sermon and we must meet it if we are to survive.

January 13, 2018 · jagdish1 · Comments Closed