Why this is a post I never thought I’d write

Why this is a post I never thought I'd write  - Keeper of the Home

*It’s rather coincidental, yet so perfectly aligned, that I would feel led to write this post the same week that Jessica’s thoughtful post on such a similar topic went up. I think the message is coming through loud and clear… “grace, always grace”,;for all our weaknesses and imperfections and frailty and unanswered questions.*

I feel grateful I brought a sweater. The air conditioning chills my feet, bare skin exposed in flip flops. Distracted, I page through a House & Home magazine, once in a while glancing up at the video of too-happy teens demonstrating how to floss their perfectly straight pearly whites.;
Meanwhile, my seven year old son sits in a big black chair, under sedation, without me, while a children’s oral specialist fixes, fills and yanks out far too many of his teeth.;
It’s bad. I mean, really bad.;
This is a post I never expected to write, but as I sit here, waiting, waiting, waiting, it’s running through my mind and needs to get out. Writing has become a form of therapy over the years, and today feels no different.;
He’d begun to complain about tooth pain for several weeks before we got him in to see a dentist, though we couldn’t see anything clearly for ourselves. But he needed a check up anyways, and we didn’t want him to be in pain, so one rainy spring afternoon, I bundled the kids up, and we went to a dentist I’d located in our new town. After looking at this teeth and taking a couple of x-rays, the dentist called me in. I took a deep breath and followed the hygienist down the hall.;
“There’s a lot of decay,” he said, rather unsympathetically. “He needs some major work done, too much for me to do. He’ll need to see a specialist, someone who can sedate him and do the work all at once, so he doesn’t remember. So he isn’t traumatized. After that, he’ll need a lot of orthodontic work, sooner than later, because there’s no room for his adult teeth and if you don’t get it taken care of now, his teeth will be really bad. Kids are mean these days. You don’t want him to be made fun of, do you?”
I sucked in my breath, taken aback. I had no idea. Oh, I knew his mouth was crowded. I know that he deals with more health challenges than the rest of the family and it was starting to show in his teeth. I expected at least one or two cavities, where he’d been complaining of the pain.;
But a mouthful at his age? Seeing a specialist to be sedated? To the tune of thousands of dollars? I was stunned, and struggled to contain the hot tears filling up my eyes, not wanting to show the dentist how his careless words had shaken me.;
Weeks later, we get in for the appointment with the specialist. A soft spoken Asian-Canadian woman, who takes her team members on dental missions trips to Nicaragua and has decorated her office like Around the World in 80 Days, sits down with me and gently explains the situation. It;is;as bad as the first dentist said. He needs extensive work. There are about 10 cavities, many of them need stainless steel caps, and some teeth are near the point of root canal or extraction.;
Why this is a post I never thought I'd write  - Keeper of the Home
He won’t feel the pain, she says, nor will he remember much of the experience. She’s sweet, carefully detailing the work to be done, how she’ll do it. I feel safe with him in her care. We’ll save up the money. We’ll get him what he needs to end his suffering, and learn how to prevent it from happening again.;
But that doesn’t take away the frustration, the guilt, and even the shame I feel.;
How can my child, the one whom I nursed for so long, whom I fed gluten and dairy free when he had food sensitivities, whom I’ve tried to keep from processed and refined foods to the very best of my ability, whom I’ve given spoonfuls of cod liver oil and sought out outrageously priced raw milk for, still have all these dental problems?;
My brain hurts as I think through all the possibilities of how it could have happened.
Was it the fact that while pregnant with him, my husband was diagnosed with cancer? We went through many difficult months of surgery, chemo, and then recovery during my last trimester of pregnancy and while he was very young. I was stressed to the max, not gaining enough weight towards the end. He was a small baby. I struggled with my milk supply several times.;
Or maybe it was the times when we made compromises in our diet, when we didn’t have cod liver oil regularly, when we occasionally gave in and bought ice cream cones for a special treat.
We do our best, but we don’t let food rules our lives. Excellence, but not perfection, is our goal. I’ve always tried so hard to feed my kids to the best of my ability, but suddenly it doesn’t feel like enough.
Was it my fault? Could I have prevented this?;
His siblings don’t have perfect teeth, but nothing like this. Maybe a pin-prick cavity, or some mild crowding. This is different.;
I’m frustrated, bewildered. Why him? Is it genetic? Did I do something wrong? Do I even know;anything;about healthy living? Is he paying for all the years when I was still so unhealthy in my teens and early twenties?
Trying to push away the thoughts that torment me, I ask the dentist if she’s ever heard of teeth being remineralized. She says yes, she believes that sometimes it can happen. I start to cry, this time out of relief. Finally, a dentist that doesn’t think I’m crazy.
I tell her what I’ve read about, ask her if we can try. She gives me her blessing, sells me a special toothpaste for remineralization and tells me to do whatever I think best with diet and supplements.;
While we wait months for his appointment, a far-off date on the calendar, we work hard.;
No grains, or at the very least, gluten-free if we’re stuck for options. No sugar. Double doses of cod liver oil and butter oil. A calcium and magnesium supplement. Swishing and swallowing Black Walnut tincture. Extra careful brushing and flossing, followed by remineralization paste before bed every night. Plenty of raw milk.
He’s so diligent. If I forget, he reminds me, sweet boy that he is. But I rarely forget. I’m determined. I know we can’t reverse it all, some of it is just too far gone. But I have hope that I can make a difference.;
Today he dutifully skipped breakfast, and his big sister and I sat with him, watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in a small room while the sedation medicine began to take effect. They took him away 20 minutes later, to begin the work and x-ray once again, just to be sure nothing had changed.;
I was hopeful. Oh, was I ever hopeful. Dr. Tsang had promised me that if anything had improved or was looking better than before, we’d leave it and just watch it, trusting that continued diligence with his teeth and diet and supplements might be able to reverse the small cavities altogether.;
That’s not what happened, though.;
As she began her painstaking work on Caden’s mouth, her assistant took me into a room, explained that all the cavities remained, and they hadn’t gotten smaller. The two baby teeth that were in need of possible root canals had deteriorated, the roots already begun to die. They needed to be pulled out. And once again, I choked down my tears as I tried to make a last minute decision whether we should have spacers put into those places or not (we did).;
I feel like I’ve failed. I’m discouraged and sad for my son.;
In every parent’s life, there comes a moment when you realize you can’t protect your children from everything. Just as we each walk through our own storms, standing battered by the pouring rain, and must gather up our courage in the midst of the darkness and the lightning crashes and the fear of the hard things we’re facing, so must our children. We can’t shelter them from it all.;
I can’t undo the fact that Caden may struggle with weak teeth the rest of his life, or have to undergo painful or complicated dental work and orthodontics. I know it frightens him, and later today, he’ll feel miserable as he comes out from under the sedation. His teeth will probably ache for days, with the new fillings and the pulled teeth and the unfamiliar spacers pushing against the teeth that remain.;
Why this is a post I never thought I'd write  - Keeper of the Home
We’ll continue to make the best choices we can with his diet, keep him low grain and even lower sugar, ensure he’s fastidious in his oral care, make sure he’s getting sufficient vitamins and minerals through diet and supplements, take him in for regular check ups.;
I’ll confess that today, right now, I feel doubtful that any of this makes a difference.;
And I know,;deep down, that it does. I know that some people, for all sorts of reasons, are more susceptible than others. Perhaps if we’d discovered the problems sooner, or had longer to try to fix them, we could have made a difference. I don’t really know. And for now, I’m choosing to be okay with that.
What I;do;know is that I can’t go back and change those months of pregnancy or nursing, and that I was doing the best that I could during a turbulent time in our lives. I know that God’s grace is sufficient, for my struggles and for all that my son will endure as a result of his teeth.;
This is one of those posts where I don’t have any answers. I wish I did, but I don’t. I simply want to be honest about our experience.;
It’s important to remember that sometimes, we can do all the things that seem to be right, make the best choices we know how to make, and still not be able to fix the problem.
We have to come to terms with that, and realize that our hope is;not;in our healthy choices. They’re important, yes. But they aren’t a guarantee, or a way to escape sickness or hardship all together. Thank God that He is bigger than all of these things.;
I’d love to hear your stories, of challenge you’ve faced and how you approached them. Of times when you did the right things, and still didn’t get the results that you hoped for. Of how you’re moving forward with hope in situations that frustrate and discourage you.;
Let’s come around each other in the comments. We live in a broken world, with imperfect bodies, and there are no perfect solutions. Sometimes we don’t need suggestions or ideas or answers. We just need support and community and to encourage one another that we’re all doing the very best we can, and it is enough. I want to make sure that the comments remain positive and affirming, so please keep your tone encouraging. I trust that you will. Thank you for joining us here. It’s an honor to be a part of this community.
Love Stephanie

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  1. Let me reassure you, you’ve done nothing wrong. At age 5 my son had 11 cavities filled, three resin crowns and two stainless crowns done under sedation. Same situation as you, healthy organic diet, raw milk, nursed until he self weaned at 18 months, other siblings with normal teeth. The ultimate culprit turned out to be celiac’s disease. We had him tested and he was far off the charts the doc said feeding him gluten was like feeding him rat poison. He simply wasn’t absorbing any of those good vitamins and minerals. We didn’t know he had it or suspect because his symptoms were atypical. Speech delay, etc… Now at almost 12 all his new teeth are normal and healthy. He has some crowding too. FYI our pediatric dentist told me that cavities may feed on sugar but are NOT caused them. Cavities are caused by a bacteria you CATCH. That’s right. And guess how most babies get it? What do mom and dad do? Share spoons and taste baby food. It explains why my 12 year old at that time could try to avoid brushing her teeth for most of her life and never get a cavity until she was almost 13. The dentist said we pass cavities on (we may have a small unidentified one in our mouth…) passed by sharing water bottles, utensils, kissing.

  2. ((hugs))! I have crap teeth… they look straight and pretty, but whenever I get a cavity it’s small but goes straight back to the root. My siblings and my mom all have crap teeth too… as did my grandma who got dentures at 18 because her teeth were soft. I have heard a lot is genetics. I get so mad because my husband is careless with his oral care, but has had like 2 cavities. Erghhhhh.

    It is what it is. You have to decide to not take it personally. (This is a theme in my life with my lemon of a body!). DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY.

    I did everything right during pregnancy, had a homebirth I thought would be great, and ended up with a birth injured son (miracle he is alive). I did everything right with breastfeeding and followed all the LC’s advice (4 different ones) and I still didn’t make more than 2 TBSP. of breastmilk per feeding for all 4 kids! Vision is bad. Teeth are crap. Tailbone broke 7 years ago when the midwife finally got my son out of me and it will never heal (and that nasty, nasty tear took 3 years to heal). My son paid the price for my inadequate pelvic outlet (and does to this day). I used to feel like this big failure… SUper inadequate as a woman and a mother.

    Then I remembered that nature is FALLEN! There are no guarantees that if one does everything “right” it will turn out “right”. That is ridiculous to trust that! I did and it took a long time to get where I’m at today with my attitude.

    For me, I do what is ideal for our family. I’m not as natural as some moms: for example I choose to vaccinate my children (I went from completely anti-vax to pro-vax so I ran the gammit with that one too), but I make our food from scratch (milk my own cow, grind our wheat, gather our own eggs, and on and on). My son sees a chiropractor, but we also go to therapists and children’s hospitals for his injury. My kids watch cartoons, but they also help on the farm a lot too. I cloth diaper, but I use disposables when needed. I treated diaper rashes/yeast infections of my daughter’s with plain yogurt, but didn’t hesitate to take my son in for an oozing yeast infection under his armpit (it was gnarly) to get nystatin powder.

    My viewpoint is to do the optimum while maintaining sanity. Try natural when the stakes aren’t too high to “wait and see” something out. If that doesn’t work, get out the big guns while using natural in conjunction (if that makes sense). Nature can kill, nature can disable, nature can be a beast. But it can be great too! There are just no guarantees!

    Don’t take it personally and just trust in Jesus!!!

  3. This sounds a lot like my youngest daughter. My older three daughters teeth straighten out and never had a cavity from following the Weston Price way of eating/life. My youngest daughter was 1 1/2 when we started eating this way, but has many food issues/health issues. I was extremely upset that her baby teeth has cavities and that her teeth never have straighten out. We had to pull four a couple of months ago because she was in pain from crowding. She will have braces and such put on in a few months. I knew what we were doing was right, but had my doubts with her. That is until her adult teeth have had amazing results. Her adult teeth have amazing amount of enamel. Though crooked, they are solid and healthy. The dentists have all commented on this fact. So maybe when I was trying to save her baby teeth, all that work went into saving her adult teeth. We just need to keep on trying and leave the rest to God.

  4. Stephanie,
    I so appreciate your honesty and as a mom I can understand the heartbreak. Thank you for being open with your story. I’ve never commented here before (longtime reader, though!) but the Spirit is prompting me to respond to this one.

    I, too, believe in natural living. I feed my family whole foods, practiced extended breastfeeding, etc etc. I believe, like you, that what we put into our bodies is important. But as a dentist in a rural community who has seen FAR FAR too many children with extensive tooth decay, I cringe a bit when the natural living blogs speak ill about fluoride or promise that teeth can be fixed without dental intervention. I try to remind myself that these moms are doing what they believe is best. But I always think that if they had seen what I see, they may feel differently. There are so many factors that play into how susceptible our teeth are to dental caries (decay.) It has always been my belief that we should control what we can because we can’t control our genetics, environmental disruptions during tooth formation, etc. So that means that while I practice natural living, I also give my son fluoridated water and slather his teeth with fluoride varnish when he gets his teeth cleaned. Are there risks? Maybe. Do I believe they are outweighed by the benefits? ABSOLUTELY.

    I’m so glad you found a dentist that you feel comfortable with. Though many “natural livers” see us as the enemy, we truly want the same thing – for you and your kids to be cavity free. We back our beliefs and recommendations with science. We want to help the best way we know how.

    Thank you again for posting this. We moms need to build each other up. You did the right thing!!

  5. I commend you and thank you for writing this, Stephanie! I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but may God bless you (and Caden!) for your willingness to share your story!

  6. Courageously written. Thank you for sharing this, Stephanie. We are just coming to realize that one of our sons has some pretty drastic sensory issues. Despite years of therapy, special diets, and routines; we are struggling on. Was it the stress of joblessness when I was pregnant with him? Doesn’t. matter. God’s grace is sufficient for us. God saw this coming. It’s not surprising Him. And He WILL use all this for His glory.

  7. Thank you for being brave and honest and sharing. We had such a similar experience with our oldest. She started complaining a little. I had read about healing teeth and started her on grain and sugar free and cold liver oil. Nothing changed. She ended up needing the sedation while they did 3 root canals, pulled 3 teeth and filled numerous little cavities. There is grace!

  8. this post really gave me the chills. the sort when you imagine going thru the same thing, because right now i am giving my son the western price diet and hoping and praying everyday that his two teeth heal that have bad cavities. can i ask how long you took to try to heal them on your own? you are in my prayers & please don’t blame yourself. i think as mom’s it is so hard not to turn everything on ourselves, but “time and chance happeneth to us all”

  9. This is perfect timing, as I just made the appointment yesterday for my youngest to get a tooth pulled. I’ve always had bad teeth, but attributed it to my horrible diet as a child. I knew MY kids would have great teeth, since I fed them so much better. Nope. Genetics suck.

  10. Stephanie, my heart goes out to you. I have been in your place with a couple of our children. Our dentist was not particularly sensitive either, and I felt like such a failure as he told me that my two little babies had a total of 18 cavities. I thought I had done everything right as you have, and there we sat with no answers and a whole bunch of rotten teeth. Fast forward to sitting here today reading your post. I appreciate what raisingcropsandbabies said- Don’t take it personally. Easier said than done, I know, when we are the nurturers, when everything they put in their mouths was so carefully selected for their health by us. Remember that the shock is natural and don’t let it sideswipe you from what you ARE doing.
    You are the teacher, the character builder, the ‘down on your knees in the dirt of life everyday warrior, who loves, defends, nurtures and protects her family because it is her God-given privilege to raise the next generation’ Mother. Keep on pushing; the honor is there despite this trial.

  11. I was stunned when we went to the dentist for the first time with my eldest daughter (then probably 5). She had been complaining about tooth pain and I knew she had one bad cavity. But I was shocked when I found out she had several and then the next time we went she had yet another. She had a tooth pulled and ended up with a silver cap or two. I felt so bad! And then when my son went for the first time he was fine. But then he went again and he had to have a silver cap. I felt awful!! I try to get their teeth brushed perfectly and for them to eat just right. But I think part of it is just hereditary…. 🙁 that and the sinful world we live in.

  12. Hi there
    I have had a similar experience with my eldest – we did ‘all the right things’ and she still recently had to have 8 cavities filled under sedation. Discouraging! While I absolutely agree that it’s important to still do all the things that our research and mama instincts tell us are right and good when it comes to diet and nutrition, at the end of the day we don’t have the control we would like to have. I have had to let go of the illusion (idol almost) that I can ‘make’ my children healthy and fine if I just do ‘ALL.THE.RIGHT.THINGS.ALL.THE.TIME.’ after being the most natural living mama i know of, we still have faced some painful challenges. a lot of my circle of people are not particularly natural living at all, so i’m not making huge claims there! but I am more mindful than most about keeping chemicals, food dyes, processed foods, allergens, sugar, etc at a minimum in our lives. I have always leaned towards a clean, whole food diet and practice many attachment parenting approaches, and breastfed into my kids 3rd years. Despite all these things and more my son has significant developmental delays. (And sensory issues that make teeth brushing a daily ordeal and occasionally not even possible and yet his teeth are in way better than my daughters, go figure? !!!) As his challenges became more evident I didn’t just go down the rabbit hole of ‘why? what did I do?! what could /should i have done differently?!’ – i lived in that rabbit hole! Mostly at night when the thoughts crowd in and sleep wont come.
    May I offer what i have realised? Like you, We *did* do the ‘right things’ and the best we could. We still do the best we can with what we have and what we know, where we are in life. As with yourself, The good choices we made around health and nutrition and natural living have blessed our children and will continue to do so. Sometimes no matter what we do or dont do – our kids will get cavities, or asthma, or delays in development, or anxiety, or whatever life throws at us. Then we have to use whatever resources are helpful to move forward – often mainstream medicine, dentistry, therapies are what we will often need alongside our natural techniques and treatments. We take the best of all choices and aren’t we blessed they are all available to us! btw i’m in no way saying we should not bother because we can’t control it, I’m saying that it’s worth it even when we don’t get hte results we hoped for.
    Anyway, thats the long way around to saying, I feel your pain on this, and respect your tenacity in doing everything possible for Caden, and I’m sorry you didn’t see the healing you were hoping for! (And wow, doesn’t sleep dentistry cost a fortune!?)
    Lottie 🙂

  13. Sounds like a challenging time. I myself suffer from sensitive teeth. My father-in-law is a dentist and mentioned that fluoridated water and fluoridated toothpaste make a huge difference. He knows that might be against some parents views and goals of going natural, but he sees many cases where kids that don’t get fluoridated water (e.g., well water) and who use all-natural fluoride-free toothpaste end up with really bad teeth at a young age. Not sure what your feeling is on fluoride or if that is even a factor in this. God does work in mysterious ways, and faith is all important, but don’t miss His message. God bless you and your family.

  14. I’m so sorry to hear of this trial that you, Caden and your family are going through. I will be praying for you all. I am so proud of you and thankful to you for writing this! You are blessing so many by sharing this candid post on your struggle to come to terms with the fact that ultimately we can do everything possible to ensure good health, but there will be health issues that surface despite our most devoted efforts to protect our children’s (and our own) health. These trials can be blessings in disguise if we allow them to be – as they can serve to draw us closer to the Lord and trust in His grace and mercy rather than in our own efforts. The Lord will always be faithful in keeping His promise to “work all things for good to those who love him, and who have been called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28) Remember the Apostle Paul and his weakness that caused him to cry out to God several times asking for God’s healing, to which God replied “My grace is sufficient.” (2 Cor 12:9) God’s glory shone through Paul and it will shine through you and your son and family as you trust in Him that He will use this trial to His glory. I hope this brings you some comfort as it has me through my continual health struggles. Love you all so much! And will definitely be praying for full healing for your son to the praise and glory of God. Lots of love and blessings, Kelly

  15. Just remember that this is one health issue- it doesn’t mean he’s unhealthy. Our bodies are all different and each has its weaknesses. You didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes these things just happen. Not all health issues ARE preventable. Sometimes all you can do is manage them. That doesn’t mean you did something wrong that caused the problem. That’s just how our bodies work.

  16. So much about teeth depends on genetics. You can’t help that at all. Thanks for sharing the story. It applies to more than just teeth.

  17. Don’t blame yourself, sister. Just rest in the knowledge that this is part of the Lord’s plan. I’ll be keeping you and your family in prayer. May He wrap his loving and healing hands around you all. We may not understand His plan for us, but we can take peace in knowing that He’s in control and will be walking beside you through the pain and struggles. *hugs*

  18. My brother gets tons of cavities even though he basically lives with a toothbrush in his mouth. And my sister had to have a root canal when she was 6. My poor mom was distraught. Yet my other brother and I have very few cavities (and never any as children). I think so much comes down to genes (my mom has great teeth; my dad’s are horrible). This certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try our best, but it does mean that there’s a lot we can’t control and we have to let go of. Now if only that was as easy to do as to type…

  19. I know just how you feel. We had to take our 3 year old in for major dental work in January. Waking her up early to take her to a hospital, anesthesia, root canals, I felt like the world’s worst mom. Her teeth were literally crumbling before my eyes. And who ever heard of a 3 year old needing multiple root canals?! (Since then, I’ve actually heard it a number of times, but when she was first diagnoses it seemed bizarre). We did all the natural things but once it got painful I knew what we had to do. I do want to encourage you though. With all the natural things we tried, the cavities that were there never stopped worsening BUT once we had those filled, nothing else has popped up yet. So we’re still doing those things like you mentioned and hoping it help her adult teeth. I have really bad teeth too so at least I can sympathize and we are in it together.

  20. Oh how perfect this is. Today I made an appointment to have 12 cavaties filled or capped for my four year old. I experienced every emotion you did & feeling like such a failure as a mom. God’s grace is good though, the next week after I found out I read an article saying poor prenatal diet & lack of vitamin d during pregnancy can cause poor dental health. Well my daughter is adopted & I knew her bio mom had not had any prenatal. While it didn’t eliminate my guilt it certainly was a good reminder that I am not in control & God is. Like you we will continue to be extra vigilant about her oral care & diet & leave the rest to God.

  21. I grew up in an all-natural, basically self-doctoring home, and had some teeth and other health issues not addressed because of this mind set. It is basically a good philosophy, but I think that it can be taken too far. I have chosen to use the best that modern medicine can offer in the way of screening/well checks, so that we don’t get too far off course. God blessed us with a pediatric dentist when our children were small, who saw them for free, and taught me that they should be getting a check up at the dentist from their first birthday. We had one child with many medical problems and very poor tooth enamel, his were cleaned every 3 months at dentist. Many of you may be heartened to know that that child is now a young adult with strong teeth! Modern medicine is not the evil it is often made out to be, if it is used wisely it can be the absolute saving of a person. I try to keep myself balanced. Not that I ever really succeed, but I do feel like I’ve learned a few things along the way. One of my favorite song phrases is, “There will be an end to these troubles, but until that day comes, Still I will praise You”.
    Something I’ve learned for those of you heading into extensive orthodontia with children (from a mom who has been down that road with a child in a BIG way-multiple surgeries, appliances, visits, emotions), find an ortho that you and your child really like, someone who is recommended for complex cases, and use all the understanding and resources they offer. For us, it has made an almost impossible seeming road, for the most part, bearable. We haven’t finished our journey with ours yet, but we are in the finishing stages.

  22. We experienced something similar with our youngest, who also seems to just be susceptible. However we weren’t diligent about what he ate, nor his dental health habits, and we knew it. I have been diligent in other area, though, and had to just say, “Hey, I did what I could.” It is hard to accept that we can’t do it all perfectly and, yes, sometimes our kids suffer as a result. I took it as a reminder to trust God, even (or especially) in the areas where I fall so short. We all just need to be honest about it–so thanks for sharing!

  23. I want to thank you for your transparency. Sometimes I feel like I don’t measure up around “crunchy mom’s because I can’t make all the changes I want to at this time in my life. It’s good to see struggle and acceptance of some kinds of western medicine. I also want to share that two of my children recently had cavities. It was only 2-3 each but I felt like a failure as a mom. Also for myself and my own self-care I miserable failed to make myself a priority while I was pregnant. When I finally went to the dentist three years ago, I was shocked to find I had 14 cavities. Most along my gum lines where I had thrown up for months during two of my pregnancies and had tremendously difficulty even putting a toothbrush in my mouth. But I didn’t believe in taking diclectin at the time to treat nausea and in my self-righteousness, I stuck it out. In hindsight I should’ve accepted the medication and had regular dental check-ups just to stay on top of everything. I even took lots of supplements, fish oils, calcium/mag, maybe it helped some but not enough. Fortunately I have not had any root canals, or teeth pulled (except wisdom). Anyways, thank you for sharing your struggle. You’re completely right, we cannot protect our kids from everything, especially pain in life.

  24. Oh Stephanie…as I read this, tears welled up in my eyes…I will be praying for you and your handsome little Caden. God is so faithful and He can do immeasurable more than we could ever imagine. Don’t let the enemy discourage you. Continue to look up and seek Him only. You are an awesome mom! Bountiful blessings.

  25. I know how you feel completely! The same thing happened to us when our now 14 year old was 5. I thought I did everything right with him, how could he have cavities? Just to let you know though, it does all work out. He did have a traumatic time with all the dental work but now all is well. :-)I wish I would have had your blog to read at the time. I am sure your post will encourage many going through the same thing now.

  26. Oh, Stephanie. My heart broke just reading about having to let him go back sedated and I wished I could’ve been sitting in that room with you. Thank you for sharing your heart. It’s sad, but also beautiful because I think so many moms who choose this way of living can very much relate to feeling this way when their kids get sick or have health problems of any kind. We’ll be praying for Caden’s recovery and for you too!

  27. Hi, I’m sorry you and your son are having to deal with all of this. I work in a dental office, and have seen lots of cases like yours over the years. Unfortunately, even with the greatest care sometimes people are just prone to decay. We have done a lot of research of caries (cavities) in our office, and the past few years have worked with a wonderful dentist out of Albany, OR named Dr. Kim Kutsch. He has done tons of research with Dr Kim Young out of University of the Pacific Dental school in CA, to find out why, with some patients, even after all of the most diligent care are they ‘doomed’ with caries. The research has found that some of us naturally have more bacteria levels in our mouth..the bacteria that causes caries, due to no fault of anyone, just how we are made.. (These numbers can be tested in office easily with a saliva swab) Go onto the website Carifree.com…..It will go into this alot more, and give you some great resources , products, and dentist info…Many of the treatments use Xylitol…I could go on and on 🙂 But it’s best to go onto the site….Dr Kutsch has great info on you tube also…He is not only a phenominal dentist, but a wonderful person too. Don’t despair 😉 There is hope 🙂 Best wishes and hugs to you all 🙂 Paige

  28. Stephanie, my heart just breaks for you and Caden! We went through a similar experience where I got wise to natural health before having kids and did everything we thought was “right” – home birth, long term nursing, raw milk, CLO, etc, etc and STILL encountered multiple cavities and issues with both son’s teeth. I felt stunned, and shamed like you. It was a bitter pill to swallow but looking back I can see it was a turning point. Clearly we could NOT put our whole trust and faith in WAP practices, and all the other “things” we were doing. We had to ultimately put our faith in our Creator who is our Healer. He provides rich natural resources for us to use but He never wants our faith to be in them but in Him. I pray you can give yourself the grace He holds out to you, knowing He covers us in all things and will in His sovereignty use this for your highest and best good – and Caden’s too!

  29. Just wanted to say I’m so sorry you and your sweet soon are going through this. And to encourage you. ..one of my nephews has weak teeth, and it is just the luck of the draw. His younger brothers teeth are perfectly strong. Sending good thoughts your way!

  30. I have the book Cure Tooth Decay. My friend is trying to heal her teeth using it (Weston A. Price book). We do all we can but can’t possibly do it all. You’re doing a great job.

  31. Oh, Stephanie. I’ve been where you are recently. Our six year old recently had to have extensive work done, too. When our family dentist told me the extent of the work, I got tears in my eyes. He immediately said, “This is no one’s fault! It has nothing to do with your parenting!” That grace-filled response made me want to cry even more!

    My dad is a dentist and has said for years “tooth brushing does not prevent tooth decay.” What I’ve discovered in my own life and now in one of my children is that he’s right. Similar to what the commenter above said – someone are just genetically predisposed to tooth decay. We can eat right and do EVERYTHING right, but it’s part of life in this broken world.

    My heart hurts for you all, but I am so thankful you have found a compassionate pedodontist who is helping all of you through this. Just know you aren’t alone in it! Thank you so much for your honesty.

  32. Stephanie,
    My heart broke for you as I read your words and could feel your guilt, disappointment, and hurt. I worry about my son’s teeth too. We have been unable to consistently afford CLO and butter oil, and I always feel the pang of guilt when I have to choose to use that money for something else. My son doesn’t have any health issues, thankfully, other than needing to be gluten-free. We also can’t afford well-checks at the dentist. My son is 10, and he’s been to the dentist once in his whole life. He has hypermineraliztion and some brown spots on his front top teeth. My husband had bad teeth as a child, but I thankfully had strong ones. I hope my son inherited my teeth. I have also been having some tooth pain recently, and although I’ve read Dr. Price’s books and Cure Tooth Decay, as well as pinning every single thing I can find about natural tooth remineralization, I wonder if there is damage in my mouth that is too far gone. I understand how you feel. You want what you do to work, you want the money to be worth it, you want to know that you’re doing the right things and that all this crazy, unconventional, granola stuff really matters. I do too. Sometimes I wonder. Like this week, I’ve been fighting an upper respiratory virus and it’s taking forever to get better. Like the time I ended up in the ER and on powerful antibiotics because I had unsuccessfully treated myself for a UTI. I was so mad and disappointed. I can’t tell you that it will get better, but I can tell you that I will pray for you and your son. I believe that our Healer God IS all we ultimately need, and He is sufficient when all our efforts are not. Thank you for your transparency and honesty.

  33. Stephanie, honey, I want so badly to just hug you. You’ve done everything in your power to take care of your little boy. My husband is one of those who grew up with bad teeth (and bad parenting). We’re now waiting for that periodontist appointment where he’ll have laser surgery on his whole mouth. This will eliminate (I hope) the bacteria around his exposed roots and heal those gums, given time. It won’t be pleasant. I just want to tell you that you’re doing the right thing, and your family and readers are the better for it. Be strong. God bless you, dear.

  34. I thought I did everything right with my son, and then wondered for a long time what I missed when he ended up with allergies and eczema and asthma. We even did GAPS in case we needed to heal a leaky gut. But I also know from Dr. Price’s work and others like Chris Kresser that it can take a few generations of perfect health to reverse all the degeneration, so with my poor health growing up I am just thankful that my kids are not worse off. I know they have taken all my nutrient stores though because pregancy and breast feeding over the last few years have robbed me of my own good health! I am at the end of a third pregnancy and worry sometimes that this one will not have had as many nutrients to draw from as the others.

  35. Can I offer some encouragement? Not ‘you should do this, and it will fix everything’, but just simple encouragement. You see, I have teeth like your son’s. I have at least one filling in almost all of my adult teeth. My mother was so careful with my diet when I was a child, and I have continued to be careful as an adult, and yet I have at least one or two cavities a year. It is discouraging, yes. BUT I never once blamed my parents for it (although I know my mother feels badly, as she feels she has passed down her bad teeth) or was angry about it. That was just life as I grew up knowing it. Some kids needed braces, some didn’t. Some needed glasses, some didn’t. In the grand scheme of things, he and I are fortunate to live in a time and place where we can get our teeth repaired (at least mostly). You are doing the very best you can…and that is all you can do. If he doesn’t know it now, he will down the road. Thank you for being so vulnerable, and reminding us we are all struggling in our own ways. God bless you.

  36. Stephanie thank you so much for sharing this with us. I have been feeling the same way, as our oldest son and daughter have holes in their teeth after thinking I was doing things right. I am now praying and asking God to heal his teeth- HE is bigger! I’m claiming that verse “There shall be no uncleanness of teeth amongst the camp” Thank you, just knowing that someone else has been through the same thing eases the pain and grief and shame.
    Blessings on you and your family! xx

  37. Your article spoke my heart, my thoughts. When my son was little we went through this. Thencouldn’t afford the final appointment. Now my daughter is facing the fact that we can’t afford to help her. I guess I want to say that I am so grateful your son has parents that care and can help him. I hope that he is doing better. You are doing a great job with his health.

  38. I can relate to the feelings you spoke of. My daughter has food allergies(my son had some, but outgrew them) and I have gone over in my mind a million times what I might have done or not done to cause her to have them. Was the 5-6 vaccines I allowed her to get at one time before I was more wise about vaccines? Was it the fact that I ate peanuts when I was pregnant with her? Now that I look back at her babyhood, I know she was allergic to the casein in breast milk just like my son was. Did that cause her to have the tummy troubles she as now since I breastfed her for almost 20 months? We ended up doing a BPA-free sealant on my son’s 6 yr molars because they were showing signs of decay. Did I do something to cause that? Who knows about all of these things. I have agonized over decisions I have made and tried so very hard to do the right thing for my kids. I still have these thoughts at times, but I keep telling myself that as a human I can only do so much. I’m a mom, but I’m also a human being. Try not to be hard on yourself. You love your son dearly and you have tried very hard to do the right thing. God knows that. All we can do is ask Him for wisdom and do our best.

  39. The blame game runs deep within my soul ever since my son was born at 25 weeks, barley alive but by His great mercy alive! But the knowledge that he is now diagnosed with CP and will struggle the rest of his life because I had a blood clotting disorder that I was tested for and was told I was negative (only to find out that I do have it.) After 4+ years of blaming myself and trying many, many things to try to change his outcome, God reached into my heart and reminded me once more that my son is His first and mine second. He will bring blessing in his life despite the diet, supplements, therapies, etc. It is very comforting knowing that it’s not all up to me anymore 🙂

  40. I’m just going to copy my comment from Jessica’s post, don’t beat yourself up Stephanie, you’re a great mom who is committed to pointing your kids to Christ. Ultimate healing happens w/ Him after this life, sometimes it’s just not for here. That’s not to belittle things, just something we have been learning through some incredibly painful times.

    ((HUGS)) I know exactly what you are saying. My daughter had a virus attack her brain at 10 months old. This led to catastrophic epilepsy that left her seizing over 100 times a day. Everything failed- mainstream, alternative, holistic, everything. We have just been home a few weeks from a 2 stage brain surgery that removed about 1/2 of her brain to stop the seizures. She is on medications that I don’t even want to describe. We have learned that God is faithful every step of the way, He truly does give the grace and the strength as you need it. He enabled us to make decisions that had previously seemed unfathomable to us. I think what it all comes down to is trusting God in the middle of it, being thankful for the options that are available to our kiddos that need it, and keeping a whole huge dose of perspective as far as how God wants us spending our time in caring for our families and ministering to those He puts in our lives. I will admit that in the past with my first 2 amazingly healthy children that just defied the odds in how off the charts healthy they were I sometimes longed for times past when things seemed simpler, less health decisions had to be made, etc. It really struck me though how scripture warns us in Ecclesiastes 7:10 about idealizing “the old days.” Now I have perspective, I realize that if my daughter had been born even 5 or 10 years earlier, treatment options may have looked very different for her. I try to just be very thankful for how God has directed and carried us. I have seen people be incredibly open to hearing the Gospel and our testimony because of what we have been through that would have never listened when I was the “crunchy” mom who had everything going well. Yes, I have struggled with seeing my child suffer *immensely*, but scripture reveals that we serve a God who’s heart is moved by suffering, and affliction, and innocent, helpless children. If God can minister to me minute by minute then I can trust him to do the same for my child. That is a message that people desperately need to hear. I just trust God has a plan for it that I will never completely understand this side of heaven. Great post!

  41. Stephanie, I can relate in many ways to your experience. Our family is dealing with significant health issues. I think the one that has left me most bewildered and struggling with guilt is our second child, our son. He has a lot of food sensitivities/intolerances. We’re currently all doing a diet free of grain and dairy. This is because the rest of my family cannot tolerate dairy at all. My son has many parasites that have wreaked havoc on his digestion. He had reflux as an infant and food allergies seemingly from birth. During my pregnancy with him, we were preparing to go to the mission field and several family members diagnosed with significant illnesses. I know I was stressed. I tried to seek out whole foods during our time in the mission field while nursing him. And yet he still has digestive challenges. Some days I’m ok with this, acknowledging that as you said its a broken world, our bodies are not what they were created; and thankful that one day my children can eat whatever they want and it will all be tasty and good for them. But other days I worry about what nutrients they may not be getting and do they feel they’re only told ‘no’ about food? And I wonder if my son’s challenges will ever be reversed? I don’t have any answers either. But it does point me to eternity, where God will right everything and we will no longer have pain and suffering. May the God of all comfort bring you comfort

  42. Thank you. Thank you so very much for sharing your story. It is exactly what I needed to hear today. The timing seems nothing short of miraculous. I feel like we share a similar experience. Just today, I finally returned a call to a pediatric dentist for our 8 year old son. I needed to schedule a follow-up appt and subsequent work that includes filling several cavities, two baby root canals and an extraction. I had been putting it off for a week or so. The guilt is overwhelming and the necessary anesthesia and hours of dental work we face nothing short of terrifying. Without dental insurance, the cost is also no small thing. I’ve been on the verge of tears for most of the day and your story brought them immediately to the surface… I think mostly out of relief. As I type this, I am thanking God for sending me comfort and grace through your words. There is something to be said for relief in knowing this struggle is not mine alone…others have endured the same and found their way through. Thank you again for sharing so honestly what I know to be difficult facts. May God bless you and keep you.

  43. Teeth are a tricky thing- they can vary so much between siblings! I was blessed with good teeth but my brother’s teeth (both sets) didn’t form enamel and had to be capped. The things that are happening aren’t a failure and I’m sure your son doesn’t feel that way. Peace and Blessings.

  44. I am so sad and sorry for all you and Caden have been going through, Stephanie! It’s heartbreaking for him, and so difficult to be a mom sometimes … especially when you’re trying so hard to do the best for your kids- and life in this imperfect world wrecks our efforts. Praying for you & your family!

  45. Hello Stephanie! I can so much relate to your story. It is devastating trying so much to keep them healthy and then realize that your efforts are not enough. I’m going to share our experience in case it helps you a little. My older son started to have cavities when he was 4 and half years old. 2 cavities and really bad teeth, yellow with black spots and porous surface. I read about fclo/bo and started immediately on it. In just a month the teeth became white and the spots were gone! I was really happy and although I was told there was another tooth with early signs of decay the damage seemed to be stopped there. So for 2 years and a half he did really well on fclo/bo. He didn’t collaborate to change his diet while my little son is on gaps diet. But I felt assured that his teeth were doing great and his new teeth were of much better quality. 2 months ago the dentist saw him because his last filling had fell and he noticed how nice his teeth were and was amazed that they became harder than they used to be. We are doing homeopathy therapy for the last 10 months and I’m certain that that helped his teeth become harder.
    But 10 days ago suddenly he complained about a toothache! I ‘m really worried about the kid’s teeth and when a tooth hurts I take it very seriously so I took him to the dentist in a couple of hours just asking him to have a look at him. He saw a large cavity in one tooth and a smaller to the next! He couldn’t understand how so much damage could be done in just 2 months time! I was really upset with my self because I was so sure his teeth were protected by fclo/bo so I wasn’t looking at them frequently as I should.
    So now I’m trying to think what could be the cause of this sudden decay. One thing is bad pathogens in the mouth. Lately he was putting dirty things in his mouth just to piss me off. They say when there is much and rapid decay in many teeth at once it might be because of streptococcus mutans and it needs a probiotic which includes Streptococcus Salivarius.
    Besides that my homeopath believes that decay is caused by the detoxifying therapy we are doing. He seems to react strongly to the vaccines he had when he was a baby and he is full of eczema, cycts behind the knee and a lot of nasal mucus now that he is doing the therapy. I was also urging him to have cleansing juices lately. So that could be a reason for the sudden tooth decay, too much of detoxification! I asked other homeopaths and they said that we can be detoxification through our teeth. I don’t know yet the real reason but I do worry since I was told that there are another 2 teeth that seem to started to decay as well so I dubble cod oil dose, the coconut oil and I’m giving him probiotics (I’m going to order soon the special one) hoping that these will help to stop the decay. Strangely enough the sudden decay happened when he improved his diet, stopped eating the rubbish his grandparents were giving him and started to eat a lot better. So confusing really, he was doing much better before, so maybe it has something to do with detoxification after all.

    While I took my boy to the dentist his friend came along because he had a toothache too and actually he had cavities in the same teeth although not as bad as ours. Yet after doing the fillings he had toothache again, his face was swollen and now they say his tooth has to be extracted! Just out of nowhere! So toothache is really serious and the damage in baby teeth is so rapid we have to check them all the time!

    So I hope everything turns well for your boy and you will manage to stop the decay. I think you should have some blood tests maybe and think just in case about probiotics. Keep us informed 🙂 Wish your family all well!

  46. I have been feeling this same way lately! I do so much research on the internet and follow most of the healthy/whole foods/paleo/weston price diet to a T. Yet, my kids still get sick, I had a miscarriage 4 months ago, I struggle with getting pregnant again, I get tired and depressed……etc… A few days ago I was in the same place of discouragement and guilt as you are today and I finally just decided that I DO NOT have control like I thought I did. We can do everything perfectly and life and struggle still happen!! It is wonderful, though, because it brings us to a place where the only hope truly is Jesus, not US. All I can say is I am right there with you! I feel like God is trying to teach me a lesson in all this. You are doing a GREAT job and you did everything you could!!

  47. Hi Stephanie,
    I’ve enjoyed your blog now a few years and learned a lot. 5 years ago my 2 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Then 3 years ago my then 2 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as well; we went on to have a 3rd child who has no health issues at present, but our 4th baby was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was 2 weeks old. Each time these tragedies enetered our lives there was so much fear, guilt, worry, pain . . . . but also a lot of leaning on the Lord, learning again and again how to trust him; and through all of this I have learned that I am not in control; He is; he holds my children; they are his people, his souls with a purpose for each; I am simply a tool and a vessel as their mother. I have been so blessed by these trials; each time disappointment digs a hole deep in my heart the Lord fills it with his love and joy; He is real. He can fill our hurts, and i pray this for my children. I did go through a time where I felt I had to do something to prevent diabetes happening again a third time and I could have gone insane with the options! At the end of the day it is an autoimmune disease and if you have the genetic weakness for it any thing can trigger it; it is not food-related. Now as a result obviously we eat healthier and i have learned so much, and with CF too I am still learning and food is definitely a big part of keeping them healthy; but I find I have to have balance or I would go insane; for their psychological health we try to teach them to laugh about stuff and not take life too seriously, or one could get really down about imperfect health; this is a broken world; I have had to come to terms with that; I have learned to yearn for our eternal home, where there are no tears. My daughter had to have work done last year on her teeth and things went well and she has no bad memories; I felt badly about it, as she drinks a lot of juice to couteract blood sugar lows; as toddlers they often had to have juice multiple times at night etc. so it is not a perfect situation; don’t judge yourself too harshly, nor let others; you know you are doing your best and before the Lord do what is right. It’s ok to not have perfect teeth, or health, if that is what God has for you . . . . and if we are learning to love Christ all the more for it, it is worthy it all. God bless.

  48. It does come down to God. Think about it, if everything was perfect how could we grow in holiness? When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter I was eating healthier than I ever had. She was born with Down syndrome, heart defects (which have been surgically repaired), has swallowing problems and currently is being monitored for her thyroid, anemia and/or leukemia. I have tried to purify our diet even more but she still has these issues. She is a little over a year but I have learned so much this past year just from all we’ve been through for our daughter. Being on the cardiology floor at the children’s hospital, staying at the Ronald McDonald House, you hear everyone’s stories. Not a single one of those kids did anything wrong and neither did their parents. A dear friend lost her 25 day old baby girl. We hurt so bad for them and ourselves (her daughter had Down syndrome too and our girls were going to be best friends). Life happens, sadness happens and joy happens. We all like to hope we can control it all, but we can’t. For all my daughter has been through, she has taught me way more about trusting God than all the homilies/sermons I have heard my whole life.

  49. Oh, friend! Somehow I missed this earlier in the week! You are NOT a failure! I repeat: You are NOT a failure! Of all people–You, my dear, are not!!

    You are right: We live in a fallen world. We can do everything “right,” and life can still go all wrong. I’ve been there. Different circumstances, but those same feelings nonetheless.

    As far as health is concerned, I remember feeling this way when Mags spent much of her first two years sick, and we finally had to get tubes put in her ears. I felt like this when we discovered that Emma Brooke has a benign tumor (that they said could have turned cancerous if it had continued to grow).

    You are a wonderful, wonderful mama! Caden is so very blessed to be in your care!

    Much love. <3

  50. I’m tearing up as I read this because I feel the same way. My son struggled with a runny nose for several years until we finally identified food allergies (eggs and soy). He mouth breathes still and although I think most of the sleep apnea is gone, he still startles himself awake if he is upright in a car seat. I feel like the causes of these issues lie in a weakened immune system and vaccines. I knew very little about REAL health when I was pregnant – ate lots of fruit, but few veggies, cheap meat, little fats and lots of grains and processed crap. I took antibiotics for a sinus infection and had a c-section. And I believe that the vaccines we did (even on a delayed/selective schedule) contributed to his allergies. We are going to a new ENT Tuesday to see if he recommends we do anything about the adenoids and tonsils which I think are still enlarged despite removal of the allergens and a WAPF/Paleo diet.
    However, I do see one good thing. I realize this child has a more sensitive system and I fear that had these allergies not stopped up that continued vaccination could have left my boy with serious neurological problems. So I thank God that he is the sweetest, snuggliest, happiest, extroverted and funniest boy imaginable. I thank him that I am dealing with bad breathing and not something more serious. And I am thankful that I have shared my experiences with others and helped them to question too. God will bring good out of this, even if some of that good is having to swallow my pride and get the surgery I resisted before.

  51. My little girl had a diaper rash for the past week or so, we use cloth diapers, Eat healthy, take our supplements, and I had tried every natural and over the counter remedy I could find, but nothing changed. I finally took her in Friday and found out it was a severe staph infection. I felt like the worst mom ever….thank you for this post. It was just what I needed to be reminded of today.


  52. Oh Stephanie; mommyguilt is a chronic condition of being a mom! I would like to tell you it’s less of a struggle when they are grown! But I can’t. One thing I do know is that you are right; there is grace, always grace. Grace for shame, Grace for our expectations that are far too high and grace to know that we have very little control over the outcome! My eldest, now 30, once sent me an article about giving up mommy guilt cuz he was tired of hearing about it!! It sounds like you and your family have been through lots. And the awesome thing is that our kids our covered with Grace as well. It’s a broken world and they will struggle. But may they all know His Grace. Please don’t be too hard on yourself. Like you said we live in a broken world; but covered by Grace.

  53. Thank you for this story. We have been struggling will a similar issue. Your story inspires me to have courage. My almost two-year-old is due to go in for oral surgery in October. What started as a spot on her front tooth has rapidly decade to the point she has some pain. Our dentist referred us to a specialist though I will say your specialist sounds more compassionate than ours. I was basically told it was because she nursed so long. But, I don’t know how that could be as she was such a late teether, she did not even get her first tooth until 11 months. None of my other children have had this problem and they nursed as long or longer than her. Neither here nor there I guess. The fact of the matter is that in 3 short months she will need to be sedated and the work done. It breaks my heart that she has to go through this. But, I am finding as you are that even when we think we are doing everything we can, we are still not in control. And for now I am trying to be thankful for the doctors and dentist who can help, and praying that they and we will have the wisdom in how best to treat her and move forward.

  54. First, let me reassure you, you’re a good mom. No, I don’t know you personally, but from what you have described and your passion for doing what is best for your family, I’m pretty sure that’s the case. You are their mom, their caregiver and nurturer, you are not God. Receive the grace that is there for all of it — what you did or didn’t do, well meaning or otherwise — His grace is sufficient.

    Healing with food is not an exact science and there are factors we just don’t know. I am three months post-op from having an insulinoma (an insulin producing tumor) removed from my pancreas. I eat a healthy whole food diet, low in grains and sugar, no other health issues and no one knows why or how they occur. But it did. I went through a similar moment or string of moments like you did — how can this happen? I’m healthy. I take care of myself. I eat whole organic, pastured, grass-fed, sprouted, and supplement — what gives?! There are some questions we just don’t have answers to, some are worth continuing to ask, some we let go of the implications and move forward with what we know. Specialists, doctors, nutritionists, homeopathic practitioners are all a great resource and help immensely when we are at the limit of what we can do for ourselves. Keep up the good fight and remember, healing with food works, it just doesn’t always work perfectly and we don’t live perfectly. There’s grace for that too.
    More than anything, I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this and that your son has had to go through it. I pray peace and rest for you for the long haul.

  55. I could have written the same story, but thankfully my children’s decay hasn’t been as bad. I’ve beaten myself up for years and years feeling like I’m not doing something right and not understanding why my children have all these health issues and decay when I try so hard to feed them healthy, whole foods and eliminate allergens, and give them raw milk and CLO, and make sure they get rest and exercise, etc. etc. etc. I feel like every time tell anyone that my children are struggling with health issues, they believe it is because I am doing something wrong. Everyone has a different solution. If I would just do this or that… And some people believe I am causing my children’s health issues because I feed them so healthy! Hearing your story, hearing that someone who does the same things is also having issues and doesn’t have perfectly healthy children is freeing to me. Thank you!

  56. Peace, sister. You are doing your best before the Lord. None of us can prevent all hardship and illness in our children. We cannot control all things, only God can do that. Blessings, and keep on!

  57. Oh, Stefanie, this makes me so sad for you and your sweet little boy! I always had weak/bad teeth, but my parents didn’t take care of our teeth, so I thought that was it and I swore that my boys would limit sugar, brush twice a day, floss, etc. so that they wouldn’t have to deal with all the pains of bad teeth like I have.

    It turns out, though, that sometimes there is nothing you can do 🙁 Both of my boys have inherited my weak teeth, and both have had several cavities, with my youngest even having to have the metal caps on a couple back ones. And when we first went to the dentist, my boys were on a state-supplemented insurance, so the first dentist we went to made all kinds of assumptions and judgments toward us.

    It’s so interesting because since then I’ve read some other people who experienced great compassion from their dentists in these situations, but when you’re “poor” (i.e. on state-supplemented insurance), people often automatically assume you just don’t take care of your kids and that’s why they have cavities. That condemnation hurt deeply in the midst of that situation, because I was already deeply hurting with the knowledge of my boys’ poor tooth health.

    It is NOT your fault! You’ve done everything that you could.

    1. PS–so sorry I misspelled your name! I have a friend who spells hers that way. I should have checked BEFORE hitting post instead of after! lol

  58. I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your heart, and sharing the difficulties of parenting along with the joys. I guess it’s just hard wired into us to want so desperately for everything to be “just right” with our kids–and to feel defeated when it’s not. I am praying right now for strength for you to keep persevering–it’s truly amazing how God brings things full circle and brings Romans 8:28 to pass in our lives–“all things”! You are obviously such a strong woman and a wonderful, caring and devoted mom and I know the day will come when your kids will rise up and call you blessed for all you have poured into them.

  59. You have no idea how glad I am that I am not alone. I have been going through the exacted same thing with my youngest daughter. The guilt, the overwhelming sadness, helplessness. Everytime she wants me to look at her teeth my heart jumps. She has had 3 crowns (2 have fallen out) teeth pulled and fillings.

  60. (((hugs!!!))) I so so sympathize. My own teeth have rapidly gone downhilll since my second child was born and my health crashed (mostly related to severe stress and chemical exposure right before her pregnancy) and though I’ve been doing *all the things* it seems like so little progress has been made. I did, finally, seem to see some improvement in my teeth when I bumped up my FCLO+BO dosage really really high. Over a tablespoon a day! In addition to GAPS and all the dairy, supplements, etc.

    I’ve also been becoming more aware of the incredible damage of environmental pollutants and radiation issues, which some of us get more exposure to based on where we live and play and more. Some of these one time exposures can cause damage for years afterwards.

    All that said – you can only do what you can do, and leave the rest to God. Coming to terms with the harsh realities we face is a part of healing as well. Even as it causes us to grieve the world we thought we had. Blessings to you and your son!

  61. Really, really appreciate your honesty. Sometimes there’s a lot of pride wrapped up in doing this stuff the “right” way because we put so much darn effort into it and have to go against the grain. Most of my family thinks I’m crazy for the small things I do: making sunscreen for vacation, choosing to avoid processed foods as much as we can (which is probably not even as much as most people reading your blog), dropping more money on some baby products because they are safer, etc. But I try desperately not to push our decisions on others or sound like I’m 100% right all the time when they ask questions, simply because of things like your current situation… I know folks who live perfectly and make all the right choices and end up having a heart attack or cancer or one of the many other things I so desperately want to avoid. So, I just do my best (keeping in mind that the goal is a full life, not a perfect life) and ask God to work out the rest of it.

    Seriously thanks for your honesty. I know this was probably a crappy post to type up and that this situation’s got to be so disheartening for you, but I’m guessing that you have prevented even worse dental results for him. If he was in another home, eating fast food and chugging Mountain Dew, I’m sure it’d be 50x worse. You’ve done right by him for sure. 🙂

  62. Oh Stephanie, I think we all have at least one story like this in our mommy experience. 🙂 Here’s one of mine. Several years ago my one-year-old got a fever. I wasn’t giving Tylenol at that time in my parenting because I wanted the fever to “do it’s thing” and burn off whatever needed burning off naturally. She ended up having a seizure because the fever got too high, and in the ER we found out she had Scarlet Fever. Shortly after that I got very sick with a high fever, and of course, I took Tylenol for myself to get relief. I felt horribly guilty for the fact that my daughter had a seizure that could have been prevented – and for my not giving my children the relief they needed through medication. Mothers are only doing the best they can, and of course they will make mistakes, not know things, and miss other things. We are not God. I think your message of grace is extremely important. Grace for ourselves – and grace for others. Thank you for being courageous and sharing this story with us. I hope you are grasping that grace for yourself and finding peace as you move forward.

    1. Oh, and when it comes to teeth, there is often nothing you can do to prevent things. Our youngest son gets a tarter build up on his teeth within 6-8 weeks. He has to go in regularly to get it scraped off. It doesn’t matter how often we brush or what we brush with. The dentist said he will have this issue his whole life. He doesn’t drink sweet things, never drinks at bedtime (other than water), and rarely eats sugary things.

  63. Thanks for sharing your story. We are in the middle of something very similar right now. I feel like we’ve done everything “right” yet still my son has severe tooth decay. Its so hard to swallow.

  64. This information to just say NO has arrived in such a timely manner. My life is under lots of stress now. My 91 year old mother has refused some medical treatment because she is so very ready to move on to her next chapter. I have 5 sisters and each one wants to be the control person. Last evening I choose to take a step back today and do something with my husband who is feeling neglected thru this issue with my mother.. Your message has just verified to me that it is okay to say no and take a step back. Thank you for taking the time to share this important message.

  65. I needed to read this. My seven year old daughter came to me tonight in severe pain. I looked in her mouth to find a back tooth essentially gone. Only a small piece remains. A couple other teeth have rot. I’m devastated. We’re in an unfortunate position and have lost our insurance then gotten it back, then repeat that cycle many times, so seeing the dentist hasn’t happened. The perks of being in poverty. I’m caring for my mother in law that has dementia. At my wits end with stress. Lost my job during the start of the pandemic. My children brush their teeth regularly but my little one suffers. Genetically we have awful teeth. I’m so scared that her dentist will think I’m neglecting my children and possibly report me, I give my girls everything I have in me. I just hope we can solve her teeth problems so she can be in good health again. My heart is so heavy because of it. I truly feel like I’ve failed her but this article helped me understand I’m not alone, that she’s not alone.

  66. Have you thought about the possibility that the PH of his salvia is contributing to his tooth decay. It could be just his physical makeup, and not the fault of anyone.

  67. I’m sitting here crying after getting my 6 yr old to bed and his younger brother. It’s been a hard year and since the summer I’ve needed to get them back into the dentist but we’ve been sick so many weeks. Several weeks of school missed already this yr, my husband had a surgery in the fall and now our 13 yr old is on crutches for an injured achilles tendon….sigh…

    While brushing the 6 yr olds teeth tonight I noticed what looks like a rotting tooth and between two other other teeth looks brown and worn down. I’m panicked and called the dentist leaving a voice-mail almost in tears begging to get us in as soon as possible.

    I feel so awful and like a total failure so now looking online for others who’ve experienced this and what you shared helps. I just wanted to thank you for writing this and sharing your story. It encouraged me, it helps to know I’m not the only parent who has experienced this. My older daughter had late dentist appointments at times but never had her teeth look this bad. I’m so nervous for my sweet boy….

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