One of the things you don’t ponder before you think about foster care and adoption is likely dental care. It’s not that it wouldn’t cross your mind, but there’s no way that you’d know what issues possibly lay ahead for you and your future child.
It’s not uncommon for kids to come into foster care with an illness or lice. It’s pretty typical for them to only have the clothes on their backs–ill fitting and dirty is the typical condition. If a parent is struggling to meet the needs of the child (neglect) or is fighting continually with the child (abuse), it’s likely that there just hasn’t been a lot of effort and attention paid to their health. And, if health isn’t a concern, teeth won’t even make the chart.
It’s very easy and tempting for all moms to allow babies to eat overnight. I know that I was guilty of letting the Bean fall asleep with a bottle more than once. Young, inexperienced or uneducated mom’s don’t often know that juice and soda don’t ever belong in a bottle. And, babies love the sweet!
When babies and toddlers sip all day and night without attention being paid to their dental health, baby bottle rot can occur. And it’s a mess!
The real damage actually comes a few years later. The baby teeth will fall out years before they’re supposed to and the gums will get tough from all of that time with no teeth. When the adult teeth come in it can be painful and difficult for them to break through that layer of scar tissue.
I’m sure that everyone reading has taken care of the teeth of their little ones. If you are going to foster, take all of your children to the dentist as soon as you can. Some say that you should wait until they are two or three years old. If they have teeth, you should take them in.
Not all dentists will see infants and toddlers, it’s imperative that you find a pediatric dentist. They’re amazing. They know how to work with kids and they’re prepared for the special issues (behaviors) that come with treating young children.
Our dentists have been amazing. We’ve seen several of the Doctors at Kid’s Dental Center (http://www.kidsdentalcenter.com/) over the years. They’ve helped us through caps and cavities and right now are helping us get the boys’ mouths ready for all of those adult teeth.