Wondering just how OCD our culture can get when it comes to child safety?
In a recent effdybsked
postÂ by a woman worried sick about everything she ate, drank and did while pregnant, she mentioned an article that actually explained “How to Use Mouthwash While Pregnant.”
It tells pregnant women to stop using any mouthwash with alcohol in it, as “alcohol affects human development and can cause irreparable cognitive, physical, and neurological birth defects.”
YOWZA! That makes it sounds as if rinsing with about a tablespoon of mouthwash is going to turn your kid into a turnip. And THEN it has the audacity to say:
Avoid panic if you have been using mouthwash with alcohol. Alcohol needs to be consumed to cause harm to the baby, therefore since mouthwash is rarely swallowed, the likelihood of fetal damage is small.
SMALL? How about somewhere between non-existent and Â does-not-exist? And by the way, how can you “avoid panic” when you’ve just been told there’s a “small” chance you are poisoning your fetus with Scope?
Pregnant ladies! Try to take this and all the other advice out there with a grain of salt. (Which is also okay!) And then spit it out!
Always gotta panic about something.
I always wonder with these pregnancy scare tactics – in how many of these scenarios (the mouthwash is a good one) is there an ACTUAL INSTANCE of a child being harmed? Is there a single case of fetal alcohol syndrome caused by one glass of red wine? Is there a single case of mercury poisoning from eating a piece of sushi? Or is it all hypothetical? I mean, it’s perfectly possible that, on my way to work, I would simultaneously hit a deer while running over a skunk and having a turkey vulture break my front windshield. I would never argue that it’s not possible. I would, however, refrain from altering my lifestyle to avoid such an event.
BB8, this is where “statistics” and “common sense” diverge.
To a mind wrapped in fear, if there is any possibility of you hitting a deer while running over a skunk while a turkey vulture crashes into your windshield WHILE YOUR CHILD IS IN THE CAR!!!!! OMG!!! the risk is too big.
The same scare tactics have been used for decades. DDT was banned because it was thought to make eagles’ egg shells thinner (resulting in a decline of the eagle population). Turns out it doesn’t, but the most effective anti-Zika chemical known to man is not used because it “might” cause damage.
Here’s another fun fact: There’s probably lead in your drinking water. It’s way below the level that is dangerous, and possibly even below a detection threshold of the instruments used to measure such things, but I guarantee you it’s there.
Alar in apples, if you remember a few decades ago, was a big deal. Of course, no one mentioned that the cyanide in the apple seeds is at a far higher concentration than the alar was, and the cyanide won’t kill you if you accidentally swallow a few seeds.
But people engulfed in fear don’t retain common sense. The emotion drives their actions. In this case, it’s “OMG Alcohol!” but it applies to far more areas of life.
Hey workshop. If wasn’t ddt that risk eagles becoming dead and gone forever what was it?
In my family we have a saying about the likelihood of events such as these.
“What if that tree turned into a bear?!”
Mouthwash that still contains alcohol has agents in it to cause you to throw up if you ingest it (see also: Kitty Dukakis). The authors of the article should be educated by the industry, that’s just crazy talk.
Re: DDT, it’s apparently complex and there are contradicting views and studies, but here’s an article that lays out some of it: http://reason.com/archives/2004/01/07/ddt-eggshells-and-me
But gum disease in pregnancy can lead to premature labor and low birth weight so either way, you’re screwed.
Go for that minty fresh breath, mamas!
The only one that seems to have irreparable cognitive, physical, and neurological birth defects is the author of this article. Does she not understand you don’t swallow mouthwash?
So…it’s okay if you’ve been using mouthwash while pregnant, because you don’t swallow it, but don’t use it anymore, because you might? I hate that being pregnant means logic no longer applies.
Sometimes I think authors of these articles write them for ratings or to draw attention, especially if it involves the safety of children. Just the other day I came across an article warning us of the possible fatal consequences of allowing our dogs to sleep with us. That’s right, allowing your little Pomeranian to sleep in your bed with you may cause a visit from the grim reaper! She said that dogs were dirty and filthy and carried all sorts of germs and disease.
Fortunately within the blog below a few people claiming to be Veterinarians slammed her article, rightfully so. A few people also pointed to the fact that dogs, as dirty as they can get, will actually boost our immune system and children with pets have been found to be healthier than those without.
“Just the other day I came across an article warning us of the possible fatal consequences of allowing our dogs to sleep with us. Thatâ€™s right, allowing your little Pomeranian to sleep in your bed with you may cause a visit from the grim reaper! She said that dogs were dirty and filthy and carried all sorts of germs and disease.”
Just the other day I came across this study from the Mayo Clinic claiming the benefits of pets sleeping in bed:
For every *study* (most are sponsored content and funded by consumer or pharma) there is a counter study. We can thank the internet for getting us information at our fingertips but often it’s written by someone looking for clicks. There’s so much junk out there (including how to’s on mouthwash….good grief!)
If the risk is so small, why waste the time of writing an article about the dangers?
I mean, golly, let’s give the attention to the horrors and dangers of using vanilla extract (also containing alcohol!) in baking while pregnant.
This mouthwash business is a red herring to draw us away from the danger of homemade chocolate chip cookies.
This reminds me of an article I read recently that stated ‘Folks who attend church regularly will live five years longer than those who don’t attend church’. i say they don’t live longer, the sermons just make it seem that way.
What about the dangers of putting your shoes on before you put your pants on? Shouldn’t we be in a panic over that?
@BB8: There was a report on this very site about a Texas (Texas!!!!) school district that forbade students from bringing sunscreen (SUNSCREEN!) to class because some neurotypical third grader might decided to drink some and then get sick and die. I looked up Poison Control information about the dangers of drinking sunscreen, which amount to tummyache and potential hospitalization if the tummyache is very bad. I looked up the incidence of drinking sunscreen, which IIRC is extremely rare. Then I looked up hard numbers on the much higher incidence of skin cancers in children. And then I sent all this information to somebody at that school district.
I actually got a response. It was basically “Wull wull huff puff we’re not gonna back down because it may be baloney but it’s OUR baloney.”
What actually scares me about these things is that the people who buy into these things are rarely satisfied with just following these panics themselves. Like the example of the school that doesn’t allow sunscreen, busybodies will go on a crusade to make sure everyone else around them is also banned from taking the infinitesimal risk they just read about.
In the case of mouthwash I don’t see a way to do that, but I believe that if there were a way they could get a larger ban on it they would.
What did y’all think about Knott’s Berry Farm shutting down their Fear: VR attraction because it featured a psychotic patient in an asylum from hell and this might give children the idea that mental illness makes you violent?
WHAT!!?? You’re not supposed to drink mouthwash??? I’ve been doing it wrong all these years – wow, learn something new every day!
For hundreds and thousands of years the human race did not have fresh trustworthy water available.
In hot climates it was poisoned.
In cold climates it was ice.
What did pregnant women do?
They drank cider or wine or good Scotch whisky. They distilled everything under the sun. In sunny climates, cactus.
How, you may ask, did the human race survive to pass on its genes to the present generation that panics about mouthwash and everything else under the sun?
They write scary articles because they SELL. No other reason.
Scary headlines on magazines or newspapers sell papers. Scary headlines on the internet make good clickbait.
It’s rather like “knock on wood”. If you do everything “right”, your baby will turn out perfect. Ask anyone who had a baby born with disabilities. They get questions like “Did you take Advil when you were pregnant?” or “Didn’t you drink a glass of wine at Leslie’s wedding last year? You were pregnant then, right?”
And yet, we abort over a million babies a year!
Curious, keep in mind that many of those people didn’t survive. Infant mortality rates in the 1800s, globally, averaged 40% or more.
While it’s worth calling out stupidity like this, I’d rather not go back to those “good old days” where you couldn’t trust the water.
Scientists have actually studied the question of how much different amounts of alcohol consumption during pregnancy affect development. Here is the most reliable I could find.
â€œA series of five studies from Denmark published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology looked at the effects of low to moderate drinking during pregnancy. The findings from this work suggest that â€œlowâ€ (1-4 drinks per week) to â€œmoderateâ€ (5-8 drinks per week) alcohol consumption in early pregnancy did not harm the neuropsychological development of children evaluated at age five. In tests of selective and sustained attention, children of mothers who engaged in low or moderate drinking during pregnancy had essentially the same scores as children whose mothers abstained from alcohol.â€ (http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/studies-question-ban-on-alcohol-during-pregnancy-201206214929)
So basically, one glass/day max is just fine, at least according to those studies. So don’t go out and binge, but a glass with dinner after a hard day won’t hurt your little uterine guest.
(And BTW, where that quote says â€œessentially the same,â€ that means the alcohol-consuming group actually had better scores, but the difference was not statistically significant.)
People are just way too judgemental of other parents. Everyone is so willing to treat other parents like crap because they do something differently or think of things (including risk) differently.
I was just called a “bad parent” who is “damaging” my child because I do not let him watch TV shows like Barney or whatever is the new “it” thing. In our house the TV is the adult thing and we put on educational shows. Sometimes our kid sits and watches, sometimes he ignores it completely. Apparently to some parents this is a “disservice” to him. I guess if a child doesn’t control the media in the house they won’t fit in when they leave the house?
We do what we think is best. If that’s drinking a glass of wine (I drank literally half of one when pregnant, once), continuing to take your prescription medications, eating hot dogs, deli meats and sushi while pregnant, how about we all lay blame if something actually goes wrong? Why don’t we mind our own damn business and stop thinking we’re the “perfect” one, so everyone else is “imperfect”?
Sorry for the rant, just frustrated with the general parenting public.
I am so glad that I had the obstetrician that I did. We had a party before I knew I was pregnant and binge drank. I also smoked and my doctor said that to just try to cut down because quitting would be more stressful for the baby. She is a perfectly healthy teenager now. I am so glad that the internet wasn’t as wide spread during my pregnancies. So many scare tactics and for what?
The shame of popular journalism!
“Mouthwash that still contains alcohol has agents in it to cause you to throw up if you ingest it”
Is this true? I sure wouldn’t want to start my day throwing up because I chanced to swallow a mouthful of mouthwash. Also sounds like something to keep out of the hands of bulemics, but would it be good as an ipecac substitute? I dunno; just seems odd to me that an everyday product will make you puke.
So, I inherited a cast iron pan with a small amount of rust on it and a person close to me, and also some internet articles, suggested using coca cola to get the rust off. I have never heard anyone say “don’t drink coke while pregnant” but I would think that ingesting something that disintegrates rust would be more harmful to a fetus than mouthwash or a glass of wine.