I figured that before I post too many blogs giving my insight about dentistry and thoughts I have, I also must make confessions of my own and really divulge where my perspective originates from. As a newborn, my son (who is now a teenager) was very ill. He was a 2 lb 1 oz preemie who had to be hospitalized over 9 times during the first 2 years of his life. He was placed on a ventilator to help him breathe many of those occasions and he even coded once. Having been in the healthcare profession and with family members who were health care practitioners and physicians, I felt the medical profession should be able to cure patients and make them better. One of the times he was intubated ( on the ventilator) I asked the pediatrician "what is it we are going to do to make him better to fix him". Wonderfully, the physician explained that "the only thing we as physicians are able to do in this case is to give him oxygen, support the airway and keep it open, the body has to do the rest". It was in that moment and while my son was healing that I began to truly understand just how fascinating and complex the human body truly is. It is where I came to see that the key a long and healthy life is to keep the body strong and in proper shape. It was also at that time that they were offering fellowships in holistic dentistry with the Institute for Natural Dentistry. I enrolled in the program right away and it truly opened my eyes to an entirely different world of wellness; mind/body/spirit interrelationship; energetic pathways; nutrition; and the list goes on... It really allowed me to truly understand that the teeth do not walk in on their own, but are attached to a body, and the interrelationship between the teeth and the whole individual.
Well around that time, you can say that I became a "food nazi". I really watched what I was eating, made sure my son only had organic, healthy food, no sugar, he took every vitamin supplement he should have, etc. Well, or so I thought. After a while, this toddler would find ways to spit out just what he didn't like. "Oh, no Mommy, I just won't have that", and he said it so politely. I would try and hide the supplements in the food. He would find it and spit it out. It has become a never ending struggle. As he has gotten older and in school with other children, the challenges have become even greater. When you share your food with others and they share back, it's when you really get tastes for sugar and other foods that may not be so good or healthy for you. Then, the first time this happened I was shocked. I went to make up his bed and found candy wrappers in the bed! Not only was he eating the sugar, but he was leaving the sugar to bathe in his mouth all night long - a dentists' nightmare!
We have had our moments. We have had our struggles. I have really, really relaxed my habits. As adults, we have our challenges that we have to deal with ourselves. At one point, I became frustrated and felt there was nothing I can do. We went, as they say "buck wild". But there is no way you can be in the dental field, and see all of this sugar addiction and the health problems it causes and just do nothing. These experiences have really let me know how strong an addiction sugar really can be. It has also let me know that in this society, and especially living in New York City, it is very difficult to control the environment and here children have access to so many things. What I do know that is great is that as he is getting older, he is learning how do make some better choices. That is my hope and shining star. As parents it is our responsibility to always try and help them understand what is best for them, but also, not just leave things and say it is hopeless, but just keep trying. So that's what I do.
Dr Donna Williams
Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.