With four kids, the chances that we’d escape childhood with no cavities were pretty slim, right? Still, I admit it, I was getting a little smug. After visits to the dentist every six months for the last five or six years with no trouble at all, I kind of thought we had the tooth thing dialed.
I mean, we’re religious about brushing and flossing in the morning, and we do get a little lazy as the day drags on, but they brush and floss more often than not at night.
Still, I thought their inclusion in the no-cavity club was all because they don’t drink juice.
But, you know. Genetics and all that crap.
So back to our visit last week. Our dentist’s office, bless them, schedules all four kiddos right after the other, so we can all pile into the room together during cleanings. Our oldest usually starts, so that our three-year0-old can watch and see and pump herself up.
During this visit, the ever-efficient hygienist knocked out kiddos one and two quickly, sending them on to the exam portion of their visit. While their dad handled that, I hung out with kiddo number four in my lap and our six-year-old hopped into the chair.
He is, adorably, missing one of his top teeth, and the hygienist asked him all about the tooth fairy as she got started.
“Look at those clean teeth,” she said to him. “You must be really good about brushing and flossing. Do you remember to brush your teeth after treats and juice?”
He nodded yes, and then thought a bit, and shook no.
“Well, I don’t drink juice,” he said.
She told him that was a good thing, looking over at me to elaborate.
“All these kids come in here with so many little cavities, and parents are always surprised when we ask if they drink juice,” she said. “I know it’s hard, my son is always asking for those CapriSuns in his lunch.”
I nodded sagely as she turned back to my son.
“I have a little boy just your age,” she told him. “And he hasn’t lost any teeth yet, but do you know what?”
“Wha,” he gurgled back, mouth open.
“Even though we brush and floss every morning and night, he had a tiny little cavity between his back molars at his last visit,” she said. “Can you believe that?”
My son could not. His eyes widened and he shook his head, while I privately and immediately blamed those lunch-time juice boxes.
She shrugged. “Some people just have softer tooth enamel,” she said. “Not much you can do about that.”
After his cleaning and his turn with the fluoride tray, we moved on to X rays and into the exam room.
His dentist told him how strong his teeth were, and then turned to me.
“I don’t know if you remember, but he had a little shadow that we’ve been watching,” she said, gesturing to his X-ray.
I did remember. It’s why we’ve been damn near religious about flossing, which had been a little hit or miss last year.
“This is his scan from last time, and you can see here that it’s a little bigger,” the dentist said. “I’d like to go ahead and take care of that, and this one too.”
I stared at the two (two!) spots she was pointing out and did my best to keep from wailing, “But he doesn’t drink juice!”
I told her we’d do whatever she thought was best, and within a few minutes, I’d signed off on laughing gas and scheduled two separate appointments to have those little cavities filled.
What can I say? You know, some people have softer tooth enamel, and there’s not much you can do about that.