The Joy of Gum, Bad OT's, and Good Dentists

I had to laugh at how this is such a common sight at my sensory-seeking son's desk!

It doesn't happen all the time, but when he needs to chew he can go through a pack of gum pretty quickly.

I'm still puzzled as to why the wrappers and selective wads don't make it to the open trash can 3 inches away. But I guess there are some things that never do make sense with boys.

I am thankful that he is able to learn in a home environment setting where gum is allowed. 

I don't know how he would make it sitting at a desk all day without gum which is not allowed in the school. 

Those special rubber chewy things he got from the Occupational Therapist (OT) were not palatable alternatives.  They were kinda yucky if you ask me.

I would eat my shirt too if the only other choice I had was a rubber chewy. 
I am also thankful that this gum is one thing that upon which the dentist and the occupational therapist (OT) can both agree.

Even better, this is kid approved and enjoyed.

There are thankfully many flavors of gum that contain xylitol.  Not only is xylitol gum a product free of sugar, the xylitol actually improves the health of teeth and can help to prevent cavities!!

We visited a wonderful nationally reknowned (and breastfeeding friendly) faculty dentist who explained the wonderful powers of xylitol to us.  What a gift to have him within a couple hours of our home.

Alternatively, most of the oral sensory strategies suggested to us by the home visiting OT when our son was little included things that were decidedly not tooth-friendly!

Lemonade powder (sour power), licorice sticks (chewy texture), and candies were staples in the diaper bag for my infant/toddler. 

I will say that one hospital OT we visited briefly did look upon the bits of candy in my diaper bag very disparagingly.  She didn't have any kids.

She judged everything I did. So I don't think I could have done anything right in her eyes anyway. 

But it's okay. I didn't think she did anything right either. HA!

And after reading this wonderful book by an occupational therapist mom, I know that our hospital based OT was not doing appropriate things and didn't treat us right. 

This book is a wonderful gift for any parent feeling inadequate or alone in dealing with a child who has sensory (and the accompanying behavioral) challenges.

Yes, we ended up dealing with some cavities from the OT suggestions (and before he was really old enough to handle the gum) but it was worth it.

Anything that worked to enable him to tolerate a car ride or get through an appointment at the doctor's office, or to somehow make life less painful was okay.

A year of colic will make you desperate like that!

And besides, now as an older kid he is a model dental patient with good check-ups and good hygiene habits, even if he still has the need to crunch, lick, and chew sticky, sour, and salty stuff.


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