Thursday, January 24, 2008

chew on this

We recently had our children in to see the pediatric dentist for their routine exam and cleaning. I am very, very lucky that my insurance covers everyone in our family (with teeth) to go see the dentist three times a year, or once every four months. Especially because going to the dentist once every four months for me is like a small-scale vacation.

I get to sit in a fancy chair that has a full-body massaging pad on the top, while tuning in to something interesting on cable television, completely undisturbed, though padded headphones. I always come out of the dentist feeling relaxed, happy, and ready to take on the world - or at least a huge chunk of cheesecake.

Oh! How I love the feeling of clean teeth!

I love it almost as much as the the knowledge I gain when the dentist tells me that my chompers aren't at risk for falling out of my head any time soon.

The first time we took our children to see the dentist, they were only 19-months old. We've been back ... let's see ... where's my calculator ... five times since then. That would be a grand total of six visits to the dentist before they are even 3.5-years old. I think that's pretty amazing since my mother didn't even own a toothbrush until she was seven.

Some people might think this is overkill, but I like to know that their baby teeth are in good shape and have no signs of decay.

After reading this post the other day, I felt more justified that bringing them to the dentist with such frequency is worth the effort.

With six dental visits across three 3.5-year old children, we've received enough free toothbrushes and floss and mouth wash to last us for at least the next 3.5-years. But we don't actually use the toothbrushes that the dentist gives us. Except to chew on while we sit waiting our turn in the big chair.

Recently, I picked up a few Oral B Cross Action toothbrushes for the children that I really like. They come with a AA battery and replaceable heads, which means that I can just replace the battery and the head without having to replace the entire toothbrush once every few months. When the kids get a little older, I'll buy them all their own Sonicare, but for now, these work great.

We're not the best about brushing their teeth twice a day, although I do focus on a thorough brushing at least once a day - just before bed. For the most part, they don't drink juice - although when they do - I will dilute it with more than 50% water (unless of course it's a juice box, which I try to minimize).

I also don't give them very many sweets. Sure, I'll let them eat ice cream directly out of a carton once in a blue moon, but I can count on one hand the number of times they've had lollipops.

Although I've never put our kids to bed with a bottle, I have been putting them to bed with a sippy cup of water ever since I weaned them off their bottles at 18-months.

Personally, I've always liked having a cup of water on my bedside table, in case I wake up thirsty at night, so I see no harm in this. I also don't think that it will significantly hinder our nighttime potty training. When the kids are fully potty-trained they will wake up to use the bathroom. Until then, they'll sleep in a diaper and/or have a waterproof mattress pad.

At first the kids weren't too keen on the dentist. Now, they love going.

If anything, I have a hard time getting them out of the chair.


  1. OMG! Mine have yet to ever go to the dentist. For all I know, their teeth are rotting straight out of their heads. We have no dental insurance. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

    (Heart palpitations. Braces. Sweating. Feeling of extreme illness.)

    While I know they absolutely NEED, I mean NEED to go, this is one "shoe" of yours that feels like a Croc to me.

    Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee

    (I crack myself up!)

  2. Good for you guys! We took our firstborn in at 2. Then at 3, she had six cavities, including one that needed a crown. At 4, she had three more cavities and another crown.

    We brushed her teeth twice a day, but she got a double whammy of bad teeth genes from hubby and I, poor thing. Her sister, of course, has perfect teeth, which is vexing.

    Things have improved since then, but oy, what a way to start off her dental experiences. Keep up your good work!!

  3. It seems ages since we've seen close up of the AT's. Yesterday we got William, now the girls. OMG are those cute kids or what???

  4. I've taken mine to the dentist. I thought 3 was the magic year and took Peanut on her birthday. I was told that 18 months is when you should start so BusterBrown went at 18 months. Both of them sat through cleanings and love their dentist. We were told to bring them in every 4 months. You just reminded me to call the insurance co. to make sure this is okay. I will also ask if my husband and I can also go every 4 months. I LOVE to have my teeth cleaned. It is like a little vacation as well.

  5. You are the only other person I have ever met who thinks going to the dentist is relaxing. Seriously, the next best thing to a spa.

    I just found these awesome kid toothbrushes with blinking lights in the handle that blink for 60 seconds so my boys know to keep doing their "eeee's" and "aaaah's" and brushing away at all the sides of all their teeth until the lights stop. They love it and are learning to be really thorough.And my 5yo reminded me the day afyer his birthday that it was time to go to the dentist now! (We go every six months.)