Oral History

I’ve made it through four children and ten years of motherhood without anyone getting a cavity.

Until yesterday.

At the kids’ check-up, the dentist informed me that Joseph has four–count ’em FOUR–cavities.  While I tried to shrivel up and melt into the floor, he explained to me his unscientific observation that the third child in the family is almost always the one with the most cavities.  He said he sees it all the time, though he can’t really explain why.

Oh, really?  Because I can TOTALLY tell you why.

Child number three is the one where the wheels start coming off, and pesky little details like oral hygiene take a backseat to things like making sure the baby didn’t get left at the grocery store.  In fact, when it comes to managing a family, I’ve long held the belief that if you’re going to have three children you might as well have eight.  This not a theory I intend to test, mind you, but those of you who have feel free to chime in.

In good dental news, as we left Stephen overheard me making an appointment for sealants for some of his molars.  He gleefully punched the air and shouted, "YESSSS!"

"What?" I asked him.

"I have MOLARS!" he crowed.  I looked at him curiously.

"I don’t know what they are," he said, "but they sound awfully cool."

Yes, m’dear, they are.  So please brush them.  Because at this rate we’ll be buying the dentist a house on the beach before it’s all over. 

38 thoughts on “Oral History

  1. Misslionheart says:

    Teethbrushing here is a nightmare! Only Bossy, the eleven year old takes good care of her teeth. The others have to be put into straitjackets to do it!
    Spud (2) eats the toothpaste! Yuk!!

  2. peach says:

    Yes, child #3 in our house sports a “shiny silver tooth” in testimony to rushed bed times and catch as catch can dental care. I feel your pain, and my former dentist did have a summer beach home — probably thanks to us.

  3. Christy says:

    I did not have a single cavity until I went to college and I had 4. I was a first child though. My dentist attributed it to all the added sugar and change in routine of freshman year.

  4. Beth/Mom2TwoVikings says:

    *sigh* What if it’s the “biggest” kid in the house that’s the problem? On the way to church last night, he broke off a h-u-g-e filling that was less than 5 yrs old. Problem? That was to be one of the “anchors” for a bridge that would cover an extraction space. The filling was SO big, it’s un-fillable again. Now, we have no idea what’s gonna happen. Could be another extraction. Could be a $3000 procedure. Did I mention that DaHubby already had a crown this year and we only have $300 left for coverage? *sigh*

  5. Milehimama says:

    Oh yeah, once you have more children than hands, it’s all over, whether it’s 3 or 8.
    Although, having more makes it easier, IMO, (as long as it’s not octuplets or something!) because the older ones can fetch diapers, hold the baby while you are one the phone, and alert you to the fact you left the one year old in the cart at the checkout stand.

  6. Milehimama says:

    Oh, BTW – our dental hygienist recommended ACT flouride rinse (I totally buy the generic). She swore that if you use it you won’t have cavities.
    We use it once a day and so far haven’t had a single cavity (out of six children with teeth).
    Of course, we go to the dentist again next month, so we’ll see.

  7. girlymama says:

    i can already tell that my third child (who hasn’t even been born yet) will be organized around the rest of us. hopefully she or he will be laid back.
    I’m already dragging it all over the world & making my OB faint, going to places like India while preggers.

  8. chilihead says:

    Wild Thing has what our dentist calls “pockets” where food gets caught. Thanks to said pockets we have one silver cap and sealants. He did say that no matter how well we take care of her teeth, she’s always going to be prone to cavities.
    I’m off the hook. Nanner, nanner. 😉

  9. Fran says:

    Ummm…dentist? Whats the dentist??? Seriously, with all 17 of my kids (3 actually) I wonder did we go to the dentist this year??? Aaahhh….yes, we did. I think it took all day to get them checked. Its just not all that fun is it??

  10. Melissa says:

    I don’t know about 8, but if you are going to have 3 just go ahead and have 7. The older helpers and economies of scale will actually make things easier.

  11. April W says:

    I always say the same thing. Once you have 3, more doesn’t really make that much of a difference! I only have 5 and won’t be testing out your 8 theory but I think it is pretty right on!

  12. Jennifer says:

    I’m anal about teeth. Mine, the kids, everyone’s. My idea of pampering would not be a manicure, it would be a tooth cleaning. Why can’t we get them at the mall whenever we want? So I’m insane, but I was the 2nd child in my family and I was the one with the most cavities. I had 2. No one else in the family had any at all until the 5th & 6th kiddos came along, they had more. They tell me mine were due to my molars erupting before the enamel was hard. Not my fault-that’s my story & I’m sticking to it!

  13. KimC says:

    “…pesky little details like oral hygiene take a backseat to things like making sure the baby didn’t get left at the grocery store.”
    You are *so* right! I just didn’t realize the rest of the mom-world was onto us.
    “…if you’re going to have three children you might as well have eight.”
    Right again. Big family moms all seem to agree that the hardest time was having #3 or #4. After that, you just coast and it actually gets easier. You know what this means, right? You might as well go ahead and have #4, #5, #6…

  14. Vail says:

    So true! My 3rd just got his first cavity filled yesterday – he is 5 years old. The older two – never had a cavity. I try to brush his teeth for him at least 3 times a week – and yes, I probably did his siblings at that age about every night. But I’m just so busy . . . . . . .

  15. AbsolutelyBananas says:

    Hmmm… as someone who just spent a horrible long time in the dentist chair having a root canal yesterday, I am reaffirming my commitment to top-notch oral hygiene. Until, that is, I fall off the wagon. Why is it so HARD?! Why do the kiddies FIGHT IT?!

  16. summershine says:

    My mother was mortified to find out my brother had 14, yes, 14 cavities all at one time. This being the child that hid cans of frosting in his bedroom dresser and ate sugar out of the jar.

  17. Crissybug says:

    I am pregnant with the third so I don’t know. I know that alot of it does depend on the teeth. My teeth are prone to cavities. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I brush or floss. When I go in for a check up I inevitably have a cavity…if not a few! It is so maddening! My husband on the other hand can go a few days without brushing (gross I know) and he has only had a few cavities his ENTIRE LIFE! Here is to hoping that your child can take better care of his teeth! Good luck!

  18. Melissa says:

    I fail miserably in this arena. I am very good at getting them to brush at night, but in the morning we get up at different times eat at different times and I often forget to get them to brush in the mornings! My son is starting finally to remember on his own. My daughter however, who is 7, is not crazy about it! Why oh why….

  19. Ginger says:

    I know longer believe as we were taught as children that the prevention of cavities lies soley in the hands of the brusher. I had to have all my molers filled (and refilled as adults, why don’t those things last?) and took much better care of my teeth (because I had braces) than my brother. I inherited these bad teeth from my mother (who is currently having to get implants) and passed them on to my poor 6 year-old daughter.

  20. Stephanie says:

    My third actually has the best teeth. For whatever reason, she wanted to brush her own teeth at a very young age (3) and since I had other things to do LOL, I said ok. The hygienist always says she does a great job. She even remembers to floss with the little flosser things. I see dental hygiene in her future LOL In our family, it is our second with the teeth issues……

  21. Milehimama says:

    I actually enjoyed my root canal. I didn’t feel a thing, I got to sit with my feet up for two hours without anybody asking me to spell elephant or splashing in the toilet, and afterwards, everyone felt sorry for me and babied me because I just had a root canal!
    Plus, the intense pain that prevented me from eating, chewing or sleeping was gone!
    Win-win, that one!

  22. April says:

    My oldest is the one with the cavity bug – he had 5 at one time on our last visit to the dentist.
    #2 and #3 haven’t had any yet, but I’m sure it’s coming. #3 (who is 3) HATES to have his teeth brushed – I usually have to sit onthe floor with my leg slung over his legs while older brother and sister hold his arms and head still while I pry the toothbrush into his mouth hoping to get some of the gunk off his teeth.
    But #2 has a chipped front baby tooth (this is my girl) and now after a year it is starting to turn grayish/black – it has given up and died. We’ll see the dentist next week to determine what we’ve got to spend…

  23. Beth says:

    Funny, my 12 yr old has 1 small cavity, my 10 yr old none, and my 7 year old, well, too many to count. The dentist said he has deeper grooves in his teeth. It is also probably the fact he will eat anything with sugar (or plain sugar, thanks) and drink anything with sugar, while my 10 yr old only drinks water and an occasional vanilla shake and is quite particular about his candy (chocolate, no lollys here).
    Last month at the dentist the hygenist mentioned the youngest’s side teeth looked pretty dirty. I asked my son, and he said, oh, I only brush the front teeth. sigh. So much for unsupervised brushing.
    We used ACT rince (ok, the Wal-Mart generic of ACT) for several years and it didn’t seem to help my youngest.

  24. Jenny says:

    Once you have 3, what’s one more?? My #3 (he’s 2) loves to brush his teeth, but doesn’t like mama to help. Thanks for the heads up about #3 having the most cavities. My hubby brushes twice as often as I do, but his cleanings at the dentist take twice as long. Some of our teeth issues are up to our genes. Stephen’s comment about molars made me smile! 🙂

  25. Sarah says:

    I would like to say thank you. I am the 3rd child in my family. And I have always have tons of cavities….that are unexplained because I have very good oral hygeine (now but maybe not when I was growing up…being #3 and all! LOL).
    My mom agrees with your theory….if you can have 3, you can have 8. She only got up to 6 but she still agrees!!

  26. Emily says:

    VERY interesting. I don’t have a 3rd child yet (I’m only on #1) but my little brother (who is the 3rd) has terrible teeth and my older brother and I can go years without going to the dentist and not have a problem.

  27. dcrmom says:

    Oh my, how I can relate. My teeth are rotten to the core. We’ve already bought our dentist’s beach home. Now we’re working on getting him a Rolls. And we haven’t even started with the kids yet. I dread it.

  28. MsRebecca says:

    Brandon had just the same and I almost died.. [What do you mean 4] so apparently chocolate syrup in his milk every night is bad? [JOKING]Thankfully his choppers will come out eventually, he’s had some pulled due to teeth coming in behind..The pediatric dentist now owns a share of my stocks and 401k.. I’m thrilled…

  29. BJ says:

    Wow, this makes me feel better. My first has ok teeth, a few fillings. My second (autistic) has had five extractions, fillings, silver caps, etc. My third has pretty good looking teeth – will be taking him this month – but the two middle top ones are bad. Number four is good so far (2 yrs), and Baby doesn’t have any teeth to fret over yet! 🙂 I’m thinking it’s a combination of things – our autistic child had a VERY poor diet for his first few years. Plus the whole, just get him to bed NOW, aspect didn’t help. I have felt so horribly guilty about it. I have no cavities yet, but my brother had a LOT, and my husband’s teeth are falling apart. So it’s not all my fault….maybe? ha, ha Thanks ladies.

  30. Owlhaven says:

    Yup. I’m sure you’re right. I brushed my two year old’s teeth this evening and it was…. (head hanging) the second time all week. It is Thursday. I am pitiful. I pray that I will be saved by the fact that we drink very little pop, which our dentist said is killer on teeth.
    (oh, and in our case, the cavity parties didn’t start til the 5th kid) Thank the Lord we are also blessed with excellent dental insurance.
    Mary, mom to 10

  31. Amy R. says:

    I’ll have to remember that about #3! My number three is almost 2, so right now she’s just brushing with water, but I’ll have to be more vigilant!

  32. Kasi @ ReynoldsRap says:

    Does your dentist do Air Abrasion for cavities? It’s so much easier on the owner of the cavities than normal drilling! Granted, you also lose the effect of the ‘consequence of not brushing well’ speech!
    My oldest had 3 cavities filled in less than 15 minutes!

  33. Gem says:

    Oh my gosh that 3rd child thing is so true! I haven’t taken mine to the dentist, but I found myself telling my older daughter at the dollar store today (loudly),”No, I won’t buy you those sunglasses, you don’t NEED them. Yes, he NEEDS that Spiderman toothbrush, he lost his and hasn’t brushed his teeth for over a week!” Sigh. Yeah, not the smart mom thing to admit.

  34. Qtpies7 says:

    When the dentist gets to any of my 7 kids’ teeth he says “Oh, you are the cake lady, right?” Yes, I’m the lady that makes cakes. And frosting. And since I make 3-D cakes, I have to carve them and the kids eat the carvings with the extra frosting. MmmmHmmm. They know us. I kind of quit making cakes now. I rarely do it. And the amount of cavitites went down a bit.

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