Obesity & Tooth Decay Have a Relationship: Their Love Child Might Be Anyone’s
By guest writer Suzanne Saunders …
Forget about an integrated policy approach for tackling the childhood tooth decay outcome of obesity and poor diet: how about starting with the principles of acceptable parenting. The disclaimer here is that I’ve never been a parent.
So insert whatever confirmation bias you like, and when I add that I had a dog for 17 years don’t take indignant and impotent offence. The point is that the 24/7, long-term care of anything you love whatever mineral, vegetable or animal form it takes shares an equal core. My observation is that the most obvious difference between bringing up a child or a dog is the way in which you dispose of their poo.
My experience is that to have a large breed dog in excellent health with an obedience that meant she was a long-term, in-demand therapy dog and otherwise never on a lead. (Yeah, whatever.) I could amuse and exult you with incredible stories of her intelligence and magic and the time she saved a bird, but you get my drift. All of it took focus, dedication, consistency, boundaries, sacrifice, decision-making, mistakes, fall-backs, incentive, impetus, energy, forethought, reason, reward, refocus, learnings, reframes, realities, patterns, interpretations, trust, improvement, joy, and love.
Sure, there was no Bugaboo Fox involved, but there were a few bears and dinosaurs, a monkey, three seatbelts and fifteen grand for a couple of emergency surgeries because there’s no Medicare for mutts.
And no price you wouldn’t pay. There are procedures you wouldn’t agree to, absolutely – but I’m not convinced of the reasoning for eating 2-minute noodles so a critter can have filet mignon; but I totally get that when kids are involved.
Paradigms. If only there was a dime for every one.
So my curiosity is roused when there are so many kids in countries that think they matter more than others that are undernourished, overfed, obese, stuffing mouths filled with tooth decay with lollies.
That’s gotta hurt. And you have to wonder who’s asleep at the wheel. (The Wagon Wheel by the sounds of it; holding a Moon Pie.) I don’t consider myself a bonding and nurturing genius, and if I managed to keep a thinking, maturing, loving creature healthy and happy for almost two decades, it can’t be that hard.
Junk, convenience and pre-prepared foods are expensive. It’s not easy to know who it is that has no idea that the nutritional value of any of them is non-existent or negligible. They heavily contribute to global destruction, poverty in developing countries, and killing our oceans. The sugar saturation is the white water rapids to type 2 diabetes and holes in your teeth.
Parents who don’t know that, need to. Healthy recipes, nutritional information, diet choices and plans aren’t hard to source – whether it’s via the internet, the library, Facebook or friends.
Seems you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink anything that doesn’t have a logo and blue colouring.
I’d like to understand how it is that you can be with your own child on a daily, or even weekly basis and not see a lack of body connection, and preference for screens, the sedentary and the snack-sized. A little life already unfulfilled. And unaware that filling unhappiness and disconnection and sleeplessness and exhaustion with unhappy things in happy packets is not a useful solution. How would they know that when nobody’s helping them know, nobody’s helping them know, and all they really know is how to make erroneous comparisons between themselves and the ridiculously impossibly impossible influencers with nothing to say.
That kids have pester power is the lamest excuse since you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It is parents in charge of the money the places they shop and the items they buy that constitute the diet they choose to have. Certainly places and areas have greater or less variety and better prices and options. But good choices can always be made by brave people; unless you live in any remote community in Australia and for that the shame is deep.
I don’t know that you can ask to be forgiven for something so utterly devoid of compassion, standards, and the very basic of basics.
I don’t know whether it’s anything at all like letting your own kid be obese, sugar-addicted and suffering very poor oral health because of it.
We already know of the major links and reverberating impact between mouth, gut, lungs, heart and brain. I don’t think kids are made up of much more than that. Even if you don’t know the medical or scientific view, you have the view of a parent seeing their child struggling with their clothes, their breath, a social life they don’t log into and never noisily laughing out loud as they run out the door with the dog.
Come. On. What does it take for a parent to accept that what they’re doing by letting their child dictate a menu that’s debilitating to them, the household budget, their future and the future of the planet is parenting by numbers that add up to total abrogation.
You’ll find a thousand pieces on the ‘net about policies, and prosaic and pragmatic approaches to this disheartening issue that stops a child having a childhood. You’ll find out about the multi-institutional collaborations, longitudinal data, and discretionary food consumption, with a promise to make doctors, dentists and food manufacturers all work together toward healthier kids.
Used to be your parents that did that. Try getting all those professions and differing agendas and financial landmines to wholeheartedly, and swiftly agree. It’d be like herding cats.
My dog could do that.
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