ASC, ASD, Autism, Dental Health, Health, Recipes, Sensory

Recipe to support Oral Hygiene and Halt Teeth Decay

I have struggled to keep Bears teeth healthy since he began eating food voraciously. One place he has always struggled to have any touch is within his mouth. Every night he would lie on the floor and I would torture him by attempting to brush his teeth. At some point he could stand up and I would brush his teeth and even more recently he has been slightly more independent in terms of doing a little brushing himself. You might have thought he would prefer to brush his own teeth if it is such a sensory overwhelm for him but the routine of me pinning him down lives on. It was that bad I guess. He even sometimes lies on the floor before we start.

His teeth have suffered. Mainly his back teeth. I kept taking him to the dentist but none of them helped as they were more concerned about him in their room than helping him. I did get to tell one of them off recently. Which I have to admit gave me pleasure. He had metal caps put over his decaying back teeth age 4 and 5. He nearly had 4 teeth out age 4 but I managed to get him to see a Specialist Dentist. A dentist who could manage him immediately and he because of that he now sees the family dentist locally.

So we went to see the local Childrens Dentist because one of the metal caps was damaged. We had to see her and not the Specialist because they have changed the whole system of referrals….sigh. She started saying how she doesn’t recommend the caps herself. And I was very quick to point out that I knew that because she had sent my son age 4 to have 4 teeth removed. The same teeth he still has inside his mouth thanks to the metal caps. That shut her up. Anyway I have drifted off the point. I just wanted to explain how big a deal tooth health is to our family. To explain how it can relate to sensory issues and that often you need to fight for better health care. In case I haven’t made that last point clear I believe I took Bear to see the dentist 4 or 5 times in a year and a half, some appointments he didn’t even manage to sit in the chair before we left, before I managed to get a Specialist Dentist appointment because I refused to let him have his teeth taken out that easily. Age 5 he had four metal caps put on and we could finally start brushing his back teeth. Because the pain had reduced.

I have always used Aloe Dent Sensitive Toothpaste believing it to be the healthiest option available. I never even considered making my own. But I changed my mind when researching dental products for George (this is my pseudonym for Bears Dad. I don’t know why but today that’s the one I choose). He had terrible gum pain and taste in his mouth. After researching everything natural on the market I found an oil product, called Glacial Blue, that I couldn’t buy in the UK, but that had the best reviews of all the products I found. When I discovered it’s ingredients were just a carrier oil and peppermint and spearmint essential oils I decided to make our own. Wow. It is brilliant. Georges pain has receded, he has had some amalgam fillings replaced with ceramic so that could also be a major factor but I have recently read that some ingredients in any shop bought natural toothpastes are really bad for our dental health.

Take glycerin one of the main ingredients in many natural toothpastes. It apparently contributes to de-mineralisation and can prevent re-mineralisation. Glycerin coats the teeth which can lead to decay over time as the teeth need to be able to absorb the minerals in our saliva to strengthen them.

So here it is. The simplest tooth oil recipe that not only cleans our teeth and leaves them feeling fabulous, but is also safe, natural and supports our dental hygiene.

Tooth Oil Recipe

50ml Almond Oil

15 drops of Peppermint oil

15 drops of Myrrh Oil

Dropper Bottle

Add all of the ingredients to the bottle and shake. It’s ready to go.

Here is where I chose to buy my oils. NHR are organic and food grade which is essential when using essential oils that are likely to be ingested.

I chose to use Myrrh oil instead of the spearmint in our recipe because the qualities of spearmint are very similar to peppermint.

Peppermint oil is freshens your breathe and whitens your teeth as well as removing any film coverings to the surface of your teeth. It has anti bacterial properties.

Myrrh oil can help aid gum health by promoting the flow of blood to tissue. Myrrh oil has some amazing healing properties that are perfect for dental health including relieving toothache, gingivitis, and mouth ulcers, and also freshens your breath.

I just created a new version of the above recipe where I supplemented the almond oil (which is runny so does drip from the brush) with coconut oil (which is solid+ no drip) and trialling it on Bear tonight he said,

“Tastes exactly like Coconut. I’ll have the rest.”

So he did. I didn’t initially use coconut because the other 2 (as Bear would call his brothers) don’t like the taste of it. Boo. But Bear does and I do so it can be our special paste. No more drips for us!

Our boys have adjusted really well to our homemade tooth oil. I even use it after brushing as a final conditioning rinse.

I am keen to see how our dental health adjusts over the course of the next year. It seems to be positive so far.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on dental health and any DIY recipes you’ve tried and tested. Please comment below.

ASC, ASD, Autism, parenting, relationship resilience, Resilience, self resilience, Words of Wisdom

My Resilience Journey Part 1

It was a succession of moments, realisations and my own mistrust of my knowledge of my sons development, and of myself as an overly pessimistic attention seeking human being, that knocked me down a few years ago. A succession of moments and realisations that then ultimately enabled me to nurture my own resilience and inner core strength. Resilience which I need every day as a person and as a mother, to continue, to get up, despite things being hard. Resilience which enables me to be capable of repeating the same challenging tasks every day.

Resilience is what we all need to continue onwards each day. It enables. It is an inner core of strength which we can use to get us through the really really tough times. As parents we need it ourselves to be there for our gorgeous children. As parents we need to be able to grow it inside our children so they too have an inner core of strength which they can turn to in their own dark nights of the soul. Without resilience we disappear into any number of negative spirals which only serve to feed fear, greed, envy, self pity and victimisation. With resilience we can take the hard times as challenges that can potentially feed our inner knowledge that we can. We are able. We are capable. We can get up each day and smile. We can get up in the morning and have the emotional strength to give to others. We can get up and help other humans and we can look out to our planet to build and create positive solutions.

My journey to having a resilient inner core has been fraught with challenges. To continue my story…

My second son was an easy baby. He slept well (at first). He put on weight, he put on a lot of weight. He really loves food. He was easy going (for a long time). I could even get out of a car with him go into a friends house and lay him in a comfortable place and he would stay asleep! I am sure all parents and anyone who has ever met a baby will recognise how amazing this simple act of moving a sleeping baby, from one environment to another, really is without him being too bothered. He was a star baby, no question about it.

What shocked my world was that despite his easy going nature it became increasingly obvious in his second year that he was not hitting many developmental milestones. In fact although he could recite ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’ the whole way through at bedtime he only actually used three phrases in response to us, they were “Yes”, “No” or “I don’t know.” He didn’t make any effort to walk. He liked to sit and stare into space. He often stopped walking through a room. He just stopped there. I would call to him from a few metres away and he wouldn’t flinch. Even when I said his name he didn’t look over to me.

The collection of straws which broke me piled on without me noticing. It was easy to explain why I was struggling. I’d got pregnant again so had less time to give my second son. He was spoken to in Spanish and English so his language development was probably slow due to learning words in two ways, I reasoned.  I over analysed and beat myself up that the warning signs in my beautiful child were signs not of his developmental slowness but of my own hideous pessimism. My sick desire to have a child with something wrong so I could blame someone else for my tiredness, my grief, my inability to cope. And of all of these things it was my inability to cope with him that struck me most deeply.

He did change. It was gradual. The hardest thing was that he didn’t sleep much at night. He crawled over our heads and bounced on us every night until desperate we put him in a cot. He was our only child to sleep/be in a cot at 15 months. We are attachment parents so this was not an easy decision. It did work for a time though. He slept better. Or rather we slept better. Which enabled our resilience.

His developmental delay only became ‘in my face’ obvious to me once his younger brother started speaking (I had better give them both names so this is readable. Our second son is Bear and our youngest is Max, You’ll meet our eldest son later). My husband had said, at very specific moments of not being able to get Bear’s attention, “If that boy wasn’t so intelligent I’d say he is autistic”.

So, Max started using pronouns at the usual time of 18+ months old. Bear still said about himself, “He wants his cheese”. Pretty cute to us all at the time until Max spoke. Using pronouns. Even though he was also bilingual Max spoke in full sentences. Bear did not. Max responded to his name. Bear did not. This difference between them aged 18 months and 3 and a half respectively was now blatant and unavoidably needing attention. The crunch moment, despite all these straws piling on top, came when I asked Bear if he knew the names of his teachers at Play School. I remember the moment vividly. I had no resilience and this was the final straw that broke me.

I was pushing the double buggy and we had just crossed the road and had entered our favourite tree lined pathway to school. I asked the question. Bear didn’t answer. But after a second came Max’s voice saying “Mrs Johns and Mrs Fields”. This still brings tears to my eyes. The younger child that didn’t even go to Play School knew the names of his brothers teachers but his older brother didn’t answer. I now know many reason why Bear might not have answered because I now know so much about his developmental delay Autism. He may have thought it an obvious question. Mama knows the name of my teachers so I don’t need to tell her too. Or he may have had no interest in the question. Or worse case scenario, the tear jerk scenario, is Bear at 3 and a half had no interest in other humans. He, very likely remembering him at that age, really wasn’t capable of knowing who his teachers were at Play School.

It took me a very long time to build my inner core of resilience to be able to help myself and help my sons. I did it out of necessity. I couldn’t break down and cry at any of the worst moments as the autism became more and more life changing to our family. If I did let my guard down and cry Bear usually did something that would make my immediate life doubly worse. Like run a burning hot bath. He was in it not able to recognise himself the temperature. I had to change to manage.

I will speak more in later essays about how I built my resilience to the point where I am now able and capable to manage daily. My 3 boys are also quite resilient to life. It is a journey however and I am fully aware now of the challenges lying ahead. I am taking count and preparing myself. Which enables me to be able to pass on these words of wisdom to you should you need support in your own dark night of the soul to build your own resilience.

Words of Wisdom 1) Do less. Do only the minimum to manage and get through the day.

Words of Wisdom 2) Ask for help. Please tell the people around you that you are finding life difficult. If like me you find this hard write it down. If you are struggling to think of who you could talk to then please go to the professionals. Be prepared to ask loudly. The further from your circle of friends and family the person is, ie. a GP or Health Visitor, the louder and more explicitly you need to say you need support. Or you may find you need to be loudly asking for help from family and friends too.

Words of Wisdom 3) Be kind to yourself. Recognise this is a hard time and you are doing your best. Be kind to others around you too. We need each other, we need family and friends support and kindness is the first way to build resilient relationships.

Words of Wisdom 4) Recognise the good things you have managed to do each day. Daily reminding yourself of your own capabilities builds your inner core of resilience. This is an essential tool, please be kind to yourself and use it and over use it. There is everything to gain by showing yourself that you have done many good things today. Small things are great. Today I got up, got dressed and made my children breakfast and I even got them to school, dressed. Simple recognition of achievement every day helps build strong resilient cores.

Words of Wisdom 5) Be grateful for every tiny aspect of good in your life. Start you day before you open your eyes with gratitude. Sounds cliched but it works. Today I am thankful for the food in my fridge, my 3 healthy, beautiful children, the roof over my head… Even I am grateful I can read this and I am grateful I have woken up to another day.

I would love to hear your own journey to resilience and your thoughts on what prevents you from feeling resilient in your own life. Please comment below.