Brush, brush, brush your teeth

Dear Munchkin,

Yesterday you went to the dentist for an “emergency” check-up. You’ve been screaming and kicking, pushing me away when I brush your teeth, and your gums have been bleeding. I thought I was being as gentle as possible, so I was thinking you had gingivitis from your teeth not getting clean enough.

The dentist brushed your teeth and said your gums look very healthy. He reminded us to use circular motions when brushing. He also said that if your gums are bleeding, it’s from brushing too hard. Yikes! All this time, it’s been my fault. I’ve been the one causing you pain and making us both frustrated. I feel awful. I was trying to do my best, but I guess I wasn’t being gentle enough after all. I am so, so sorry, sweetie. It makes my heart ache and tears well up in my eyes.

You haven’t had the same reaction when Daddy brushes your teeth, so I’m trying to learn how he does it. I had been saying he wasn’t doing a thorough job, thus leading to the gingivitis. Again, I was wrong. I apologized to Daddy, too.

Sometimes, even when we have the best intentions, parents make mistakes. The best we can do is acknowledge it when we mess up, apologize, and try to do better going forward – the same things we ask you to do when you make a mistake. I consider this a lesson learned, and I will be even more careful when I brush your teeth from now on.

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