The saga of my teeth

The last time I was at the dentist’s office which I’ve been to my whole life was a year and a half ago. The dentist told me I had the beginnings of what they called “flossing cavities” in two spots. He then helpfully explained the very obvious: that the term meant cavities between teeth usually caused by not flossing. I told him I flossed regularly. He gave me an inscrutable look which I interpreted to be “Suuuure you floss regularly. Everybody says that, but nobody actually does.” I was highly insulted because I pride myself on being a stellar flosser, but he just cautioned me to be careful to floss well in the future so they didn’t get bigger.

Fast forward to this fall, when I decided I should probably have my teeth cleaned and checked out since it had been over a year. I excited my student dentist by having those same small cavities in between my teeth. She showed them to me as “dark spots” on the X-ray. I saw no dark spots, but she saw them, and in them she saw opportunity. Opportunity to use me as her patient for her dental licensing exams in February. The actual dentist guy who checks out all the patients to make sure the students haven’t screwed up too badly was non-committal on the matter, and said I should come back in a few months to check on them, because they could either re-calcify or get worse. My student doctor was clearly somewhat saddened by this news that her star patient might not be eligible, but she brightened up and told me it would be good for ME if they went away. It’s good to put the patient first.

Here’s the moral of this otherwise dry little story. For the past year and a half, I have been religiously flossing every day, and brushing at least once a day, usually twice. Clearly that treatment was enough to stop those little cavities from growing but not enough to reverse them. I had always viewed mouthwash as some optional accessory that pansys who liked to smell other people’s breath used; in the same sort of personal hygiene category as hair dye, makeup, and deodorant.

Just kidding about the deodorant.

However, when my delightful student doctor (and I really do like her, she’s very nice and does her job well, regardless of my snarky tone) mentioned that I should use mouthwash to help reverse the cavities, I thought I’d give it a try. It was only for a few months, and certainly none would have to know of my weakness in breaking down and using it. I’d simply hide it under my jumbo-sized pack of toilet paper at Walmart, and nobody but the checker would be privy to my clean little secret. It was the perfect opportunity for a test of its usefulness.

Well, today I went back for my cavity x-rays. Turns out one of them has healed itself! So, the deal is I get the other one filled for free on some Saturday in February and get paid for my time too. If you’ve gotta have a cavity filled, I think that’s the way to go. I am thankful that I only have to have one done though.

Anyway, go out and buy mouthwash, because apparently it works. Don’t be ashamed of it either. Take a chance and put it on top of the thousands of pounds of cat food. Proclaim to the world that you have jumped on the mouthwash bandwagon and you’re proud to be there.


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January 2009
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