I took my three year old to her first dentist appointment today. She’s actually almost four and not a toddler at all. According to my dentist, I should’ve taken her for her visit when she was two. I know this because I have two other kids, neither of whom made it to the dentist at age two. All their teeth are going to fall out, right, so what’s the point?
I’m just kidding, I know the point. Good habits! Also to make sure gums are healthy and stay healthy. The philosophy is preventative care, catching problems early and avoiding problems altogether.
Or you could be cynical and say because of fluoride in the water, kids don’t get cavities like they used to and dentists still need to make a living.
Frankly, the main reason my youngest child hasn’t been to the dentist is scheduling. Every time I tried to make an appointment for all three kids, my head would spin and the receptionist and I would give up.
So the good news is… no cavities. All three kids! Nothing screams “bad mom” like your little kid’s cavities, so I’m cool, right?
Actually, no. Not by most dentists’s standards, certainly not according to my kids’s dentist.
The dentist gave my kids and me a giant, smiley tooth packet which reads:
The way you eat also affects your teeth…Foods that are sticky or gummy really hang on to your teeth. Starchy foods, like crackers, chips, and cereal, and foods with sugars in them like dried fruits, candy, and cookies, also can be a problem. One solution is to brush after every time you eat. Another is not to snack often.
I was asked:
Do my kids drink juice? Yes
Do my kids snack? Yes.
Do my kids eat candy? Yes, whenever and whatever they want though I didn’t put it quite that way. Why pick a fight, right?
We were also given a yellow piece of paper with two columns: good snacks and bad snacks and told to avoid refined sugars and starches.
Though I teach my kids about nutrition, I have done everything in my power not to divide foods into “good” and “bad.”
Basically my kids have the same eating and brushing habits I do, which isn’t rocket science. Even the dentist form I filled out out asks about the mother’s cavities in the past year and the dentist also asked me if I flossed my own teeth.
Like my kids, I eat what I want, when I want. I would summarize it this way: my teeth are important to me, but they are not the most important thing to me. Teeth are the most important thing to your dentist. They should be, she’s a dentist. But if you follow her advice, is that the life you want to lead?
I go to a great dentist, and if he had his way, I would get X-rays once a year (too pricey and why get “tiny amounts” of radiation?) He wants to fit me for a mouth guard to wear at night because I clench my jaw. He says a mouth guard would protect my teeth. I told him I was sure he was right, but that I know myself and there was no way I would wear a mouth to ensure that kind of perfection.
I don’t think of myself as lax when it comes to my teeth. I brush at least twice a day, I floss every night, I get my teeth professionally cleaned every four months. My kids do the same, except they regularly miss check ups which I regularly reschedule. Teeth, while important (and I know gums affect the heart and all that) are not the most important; I take my dentist’s advice with a cube of sugar.
One more thing I’m not a fan of at the dentist’s office: the stickers:
This made me sad about my daughter who loves Batgirl. It’s only a matter of time before she realizes that her superhero is invisible and caves to Ponyworld.