Monday, March 19, 2012

Trip to the Dentist

I took both girls to the dentist last week.

Many years ago, I suspected that taking babies to the dentist was one of those over-rated things that didn't really make sense. The girls teeth came in on schedule, were colored properly, and I didn't notice anything amiss, so we didn't go. At 4 years of age, I took Beezus to a very popular children's dentistry practice in the far out suburbs. TV in the waiting rooms and chairs, a treasure box, lots of dentists, a fun waiting room. She hated it. The exam room was a huge room with 6-8 chairs lined up next to each other and was WAY too bright. The hygenist was fake nice (which Beezus could detect at 4 years of age) and used this odd voice and the dentist was frustrated that I wouldn't let them give her fluoride at that first visit. Beezus hated it and was a bundle of nerves. We left and never went back.

A year later, when Beezus was 5 and Ramona was 3, we got a recommendation from a fellow blogger and neighbor for a local pediatric dentist in a large family dental practice just down the street. This dentist has been fantastic and we've been seeing her every 6 months. We all look forward to going, and the girls easily go with the techs by themselves to get X-rays, climb in and out of the chairs, etc.

However, I was dreading this particular trip last week, because we don't thoroughly brush their teeth every night. They brush them every night and morning and use mouthwash as well, but Ramona went through a phase where she wouldn't use toothpaste for several months (she would literally gag and I tried every single flavor available at every store in the Northern Prince George's County area. I'd say they get a good thorough brushing 4 times per week.

A tip from one of the Milk Moms at our monthly First Friday dinners (thanks Laura and Marya !) pointed me in the direction of an $8 electric toothbrush for each girl, and that made things easier.

It wound up to be a great visit. Both girls were excited and SO well-behaved, following every one of the dentist's instructions. It was interesting to see Beezus interacting with an authority figure whom she clearly liked. The dentist has a sincere, welcoming, positive, aura about her and Beezus, in particular, really responds to it.

Both girls escaped with no cavities and the dentist mentioned that Ramona's teeth, in particular, were very clean. I about fell off my chair and asked her how could that possibly be, when she didn't use toothpaste for 4 months and only gets a good thorough brushing every other day. I mentioned the recent article in the New York Times which referenced the increasing number of pre-schoolers who have to go under general anesthesia to get multiple cavities filled.

The dentist asked a few questions and we concluded that, at least for my girls, these things make a difference:
1. Balanced diets, obviously.
2. Little juice, soda, etc. The girls drink water with every meal and throughout the day. Milk is reserved for after dinner and they LOVE it (they get sufficient calcium through other foods).
3. They do have a "special treat" every day (what a change from their younger years) but it's usually a popsicle, a cookie, maybe a Hershey's Kiss; but not sticky candy that sticks to their teeth or gums.
4. Since they were always on the slight side of the weight charts, we've always fed them their whole grain and protein at the beginning of the meal and the fruit at the end of the meal. I suspect that they eat this way during lunch at school, as well. The dentist said that fresh fruit actually cleans the teeth, so I guess that helps clean their teeth throughout the afternoon at school ?

So, I'm not sure what the answer is. It's not all genetics because Mr. Quimby and I both have a fair amount of cavities.

Perhaps just luck - I'll take it.


Rachel et Natalie said...

that's wonderful news! Well done.
I am very particular when it comes to teeth cleaning as well as Yossi and I do not have good teeth.

Maud said...

Mabel had a cavity late last year and had to be gassed for a crown - though in the end she just got a filling because she was wriggling and distressed and it was quicker. It was not a fun experience and I very much hope it's not going to be repeated.

The dentist said that the rest of her teeth look fine (and Dash's have always been great) so that it may have been a flaw in the tooth from the beginning. We brush every night but are bad about mornings, and she uses toothpaste with xylitol (as recommended by Moxie).

Helen's mom said...

And Helen has her teeth thoroughly brushed and flossed twice per day, and she has 9 cavities---while I, her mother, have no cavities at all but am in danger of my teeth disappearing from overbrushing! Can't win!

Laurie said...

I wonder if their visit was before the show "Alexander and the Terrible No Good Really Bad Day." There was a scary dentist in the production. So glad they had a good experience and a clean bill of teeth.

Oh, and did the dentist say anything pro or con about using electric tooth brushes? I remember one of the other milk moms thought they hurt teeth?

{sue} said...

Love that dentist!

I have one that has terrible teeth. The others have no cavities. I'm totally calling it nature and not nurture. Right?

Marya said...

We brush and floss the boys' teeth every night but are terrible about getting it done in the morning. David still has a number of cavities in his baby teeth and the ones that are not set to come out in the next 6 months will get fixed next week. I felt like the worst Mom in America when he said David had cavities. The Dentist tried to assure me that cavities in baby teeth are pretty "normal" because the baby teeth just aren't as strong. Still felt crappy.

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