25 March 2011

Cuddles and Cavities

Emmaline is due soon for her first visit to the dentist. At present we're putting it off, doubtful that it would be anything more than an opportunity for her to learn how much fun biting is. But the truth is that she has got herself a nearly full set of teeth. We won't be able to avoid it much longer.

In preparation for the inevitable, I've done a little reading online and I came across this article. Yes, it's almost a year old. Most of the news I read is about that out of date. When I keep up with current events, I find out things like Donald Trump is running for president and these are facts I'd really rather ignore.

To sum up, the article outlines how certain bacteria in our mouths, specifically Strep mutans, contribute to the formation of cavities. These bacteria can be spread from adults to their offspring by sharing cups, biting off pieces of food for your child, or kissing them on the lips. When one woman's two-year-old was diagnosed with two cavities, her dentist gave her printed recommendations on how to help her daughter prevent cavities in the future. This list included the advice to avoid kissing her daughter on the lips.

I have to admit that when Emmaline was first born, I was hesitant to kiss her on the mouth. At first because she hadn't yet had a bath and later because her mouth was just so small. Pressing my face up against it seemed the sort of thing that was appropriate only if I needed to give her rescue breaths. Otherwise, I thought, I was sure to smother her.

Then one day when I came out to the living room from taking a shower, Daryl looked up from the couch where he was sitting with the brand new baby. He looked at me sheepishly. 

"You need to kiss her on the mouth. I just did and it's freaking awesome."

Even with this resounding affirmation of the activity, I put it off for a while. I felt as if I just didn't know her well enough, I suppose. But eventually I warmed up to it.

Her lips are not the only place Emmaline receives kisses. The top of her head is in fact the most frequent site smooched, mostly because I can plant a few while she sits on my lap to read me Llama, Llama, Red Pajama. While she turns the pages and in between exclamations of, "Oh! Mama!", she is helpless to block my advances.

I read the whole anti-kissing column. I reviewed the decades of data that support the dangers of swapping spit. And at the end I concluded that I just don't care. She is just too scrumptious to resist. I fully intend to continue to give and receive any and all manner of Emmaline kisses that I can get. I know Scout certainly will be doing the same.

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