First Dentist Appointment with Food Allergies

Food Allergies, Our Latest Adventures

Everyone’s worst nightmare…a trip to the dentist!! At Olivia’s last pediatrician appointment we were told that it was time to take her to the dentist and my heart stopped. Not because they would be checking out her teeth but because they would have to put things in her mouth – things that could potentially contain her allergens! We have to be so meticulous about ingredients in everything that even comes close to her. We know every possible name for dairy, wheat, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts, but I had never had to worry about ingredients in a medicine or at a doctors’ office. Through the years, there have been a few stories where children were given a fluoride or toothpaste that contained their allergen and they had to go into pure survival mode – EPI included. I went home and started doing research. 

Cue Google Search –> Food Allergies and the Dentist

I wrote down all of my questions, all of the names that could possibly mean the same as any of her allergens (ie Casein is another form of Dairy!) and had a plan of attack. 

The morning of the dentist appointment, I told Olivia we were going to the Dentist so the doctor could check out her teeth and she couldn’t have been more excited. She pointed to her teeth all morning and kept yelling “momma, teeth!” It’s so funny how all the fear and anxiety I had been holding on to for this appointment can just melt away with one smile from that little girl. I took a page out of her book and we walked into the Dental office with all the confidence and courage I could muster. 

We filled out our new patient paperwork and waited to be walked in. My stomach was in knots! When we were called back, the dental hygienist told me to avoid the dentist chair and sit Olivia on the bench next to the computer. She said most kids get really freaked out by the big, scary chair and they tend to shut down. She had obviously never met Olivia! She climbed right up onto the big girl dentist chair, with a smile so big it could be seen from the moon. 

“Momma, look, chair” she would say followed by “Momma, teeth!”

While Olivia played in the chair, I pulled the hygienist over and asked her to see an ingredient list of anything they would be using on Olivia for this appointment. I needed to be 100% sure nothing contained her allergens. Unfortunately, the office didn’t have a printed list of the ingredients in their products, which threw me for a loop. My research had shown that they had to have the product ingredients available and the fact that they didn’t have them made me so nervous. Instead, they gave me samples of the Floride and cleaner to have it tested at the allergist to be sure it was safe. I settled for this solution but it did leave me underwhelmed.

Thankfully, the first appointment at this office simply consisted of a short medical history interview, a discussion about what types of foods and drinks are consumed and a quite look into the mouth! Olivia was a rock star and got her teeth checked out an the all clear from the dentist! When they were done checking her teeth, she kept signing more so they would keep going – she is the only kid that LOVES the dentist. I was relieved nothing was put in her mouth today – but to be honest, without knowing the product ingredients – nothing was going in her mouth regardless. 

She picked out a stuffed animal prize and we took a trip to Dee’s One Smart Cookie for an allergy safe cake pop. 

For any allergy parents that might be nervous for their child’s first dentist appointment – there’s nothing to worry about! The first appointment was very straight forward – interview and quick check with no products. Remember, if you can’t see ingredients or don’t have that reassurance that the product is safe, don’t let them use it. Just Keep Advocating!! And tell them why you aren’t able to proceed with your appointment and hopefully they will get you what you need to feel comfortable. 

Favorite safe foods for our baby with food allergies

Food Allergies, Our Latest Adventures

**Disclaimer: I am not a health care provider or allergist. These recommendations are what work well for my family with a child allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, eggs and dairy. But what works and is safe for her, may not be safe for another. As always read labels and triple check that what you are eating is safe for you. I am not sponsored or affiliated with any of these products and have linked them for your convenience. Thanks for reading!**

When Olivia was diagnosed with so many life threatening food allergies, my first thought was what can we feed her?? What can I feed her that is free from nuts, wheat, eggs and dairy? And that means free from containing them AND free from cross contamination?? Doesn’t breakfast consist of eggs and toast?!! My husband and I went to the grocery store only to be completely overwhelmed. It felt like everything either contained, may contain or was made in the same facility as at least one of her food allergies. The vision I had in my head of my daughter enjoying pizza, bread, Mac and cheese, cookies – all the foods kids can freely enjoy – was crushed. Or so I thought.

Over the next few weeks I did so much research on how to feed my little girl. We took some wonderful advice from a family friend – thank you Elizabeth! – and searched for some good options. I did not want her food allergies to define Olivia and I knew there had to be a way through our fear to the other side! And there certainly was :). So many companies make really delicious and safe foods for Olivia. And when I took a step back and thought about what we eat, I realized most of what we eat can be modified so its safe for Olivia. This diagnosis is SO over whelming if you have never had to deal with food allergies. I hope that some of what we have tried may help you feel a little less over whelmed. Here are some of Olivia’s favorite safe meals! 🙂

Breakfast:

Snacks:

Lunch&Dinner:

    turkey or chicken breast
    Ham steak

Drinks:

Extras:

As we continue on this food allergy adventure, I know our pantry will continue to grow. How I feel about dealing with food allergies since Olivia’s diagnosis has changed so much. I have gone from being constantly anxiety ridden and terrified to being a lot more confident and sure of myself in the kitchen. Remember we must be prepared, not paranoid because not everyone is perfect.

So just keep cooking, trying, eating and as always advocating for even more delicious and safe options!!

Our First Allergy Food Challenge

Food Allergies, Our Latest Adventures

When we first found out Olivia was born with life threatening food allergies, she was only tested for peanuts and tree nuts. At the next appointment, following some negative reactions to certain foods, we added an allergy to eggs and dairy and at the third and final test, we added wheat. At each appointment we got more bad news piled on us. And despite the fact that these diagnoses were all unfavorable, it was nice to have answers. Our experience giving Olivia her first foods was unpleasant – she didn’t “like” anything we gave her – spaghetti, bread, and of course peanut butter – all did not go over well! So to find out that the reason she didn’t “like” the food was that they made her sick was a double edge sword – well, at least we had answers.

At our last appointment, Olivia had to get yet another skin test. The skin test involves a prick that is dipped in the allergen, and that prick is then pushed into her skin. We then wait 15 minutes to see if her skin reacts to the allergen. This time around, wheat and egg came back as being smaller than they were before which prompted the allergist to suggest we do a food challenge. A food challenge is when you are in the office surrounded by doctors and nurses and you give the allergic person the allergy to see what they can tolerate. Our hope was that because the skin test came back smaller than before (which means she is still technically allergic) she may be able to tolerate some wheat and egg! This would calm some of the anxiety we have on going out to eat or in public places in regards to cross contamination and touch reactions. We chose to do the wheat food challenge because if she passed this test, our world would open up! Bread? Toast? Crackers? YAY!

When you do a food challenge, the person being tested must not have any allergy medicine 5 days prior to test day. I also wish we would have known – don’t fill that kid up on lunch! They have to eat a lot of their allergen to pass the challenge – for Olivia, she would have to eat an entire roll and a half! If you know Olivia, that will make you laugh – which we totally did – at the nurse. She barely eats that much food in a day! Let alone in one sitting of a food she’s never had! But we were optimistic. At the beginning of the appointment they confirmed that Olivia wasn’t sick with any runny nose, cough or congestion. Then, she was skin pricked again to be sure wheat was still st the same levels as before. She was then cleared to be challenged!

The nurse prepared 5 doses of the allergen for the child to digest. We were armed with benedryl, 2 Epipens and water just in case we needed it! In the worst case scenario, Olivia could have gone into anaphylactic shock right there in front of us from us deliberately giving her what she’s allergic to – needless to say, my husband and I were nauseous and white faced the entire time. The first does went amazing! Olivia ate it in under 30 seconds! She seemed to love the flavor – of course she would – she is my daughter and bread is a carb. She got down on the floor and played wirh her books and puppies between every dose. The second dose was as easy as the first. The third dose is where we saw Olivia really slow down. She barely got through this dose which was a quarter roll. We thought maybe she was just getting full, until we started seeing more ominous symptoms…

After her third dose, Olivia started to sneeze every couple minutes. I remember looking into Dan’s eyes and its like we spoke to each other with no words. We knew sneezing was a symptom of anaphylaxis. Her sneezing seemed to subside so we moved forward. Her fourth dose was a giant one. We sat together and I held the first bite up to Olivia and she refused. We tried to hard to get her to eat more bread – we were so close to the end! She only needed to finish five doses to pass – but it wasn’t happening. So we knew she was all done. All of a sudden she started to sneeze again but this time, it was paired with coughing and a runny nose. We knew her body was fighting the wheat and it was time to call it. The doctor came in to check her out and assess if we needed to give her the Epi Pen. Her symptoms were mild and only required Benadryl for the time being. We waited in the office for an additional 60 minutes to be sure she was safe and would not go into anaphalixis. After we were cleared to leave, the doctor confirmed what we already knew – Olivia had failed her wheat challenge. Failing a food challenge meant she would need to continue to avoid foods containing wheat, that may contain wheat or foods that are made on shared lines with wheat. This was something we were already doing so we were used to this scenario but we were very disappointed the results did not turn out better. On a positive note, since Olivia was able to tolerate some wheat, the doctor was optimistic that she may not be contact reactive to wheat, rather is only allergic if she ingests wheat.

We left the office feeling defeated and uneasy. Olivia was irritable and exhausted – her nose continued to run but her other symptoms subsided with the Benedryl. That night we watched her closely, fearing a biphasic reaction to the wheat – this is a secondary anaphylactic reaction that can occur hours after the initial exposure to the allergen. We held her close all night and luckily, she was back to her old self in the morning.

In the days that followed, Dan and I thought about whether we felt that challenging wheat was worth it. Despite being terrified in the office and the failed results, we ultimately think it was 100% worth doing. We learned that if Olivia were to touch a loaf of bread and put her hands in her mouth on accident – she would probably be okay! Her body was able to tolerate a small dose meaning if she comes into contact with wheat, she should be able to handle the allergen. And we learned that she is indeed allergic to ingesting wheat – something Dan and I weren’t totally sure of before the challenge. We are hopeful she will outgrow her wheat allergy – being that nearly 80% of kids outgrow their allergy to wheat by age 5! So, even though food challenges are completely terrifying, they gave us a lot of information and we feel it’s a necessary part of Olivias food allergy adventure.

In the months to come, we will have a baked egg challenge! This challenge requires us to bake a delicious egg muffin for her to eat! If she passes this challenge, we can start baking her items with egg in them which will have added calories and protein! I will keep you all updated when that challenge is! In the meantime, just keep advocating!