Posted by: raesalley | August 31, 2004

Be a Dentist…

as any good musical theater person, I can’t go to the dentist without thinking of that song from Lil Shop of Horrors. Torture devices, severe pain, and all done to music.

Luckily, I’ve hit the genetic jackpot and inherited my maternal grandmother’s straight teeth. I’m also “young” enough that it’s not horrifying that I don’t floss daily. I minorly lied, and said I did it once a week…the actuality is once in a blue moon. Usually comes after eating corn.

But I take care of my pearly whites. I brush. I have a minor addiction to apples which helps kill the coffee aftertaste in the morning. But floss? Never really got it. Until my hygienist today explained it to me.

Apparently, when you don’t floss the gums get tender, and bacteria and other crap start sliding down the teeth and the gums pull away from the tooth. (For the record, we’re being unscientific here…it might not be quite the perfect explanation, but it works…) As the gums pull away, more crap can get between the tooth and the gums, getting further and further down to the bone. Then you have “serious problems” and we don’t want that. With visions of teeth falling out, rotting bones, and little green monsters living in my mouth, I’ve renewed my decision to floss.

And it’s not that we don’t keep any in the house. The Bald One and I have a box of it, strategically placed within the cup that holds our toothpaste and toothbrushes. We even replace the toothbrushes the recommended 3-6 months. But flossing is … well, painful.

Nope, that myth destroyed as well. According to my friendly neighborhood hygienist, if I actually did it every day with the requisite five strokes, it wouldn’t hurt. Partially because the gums would toughen up and partially because there wouldn’t be any residents to piss off. My mouth was actually bleeding when she did this for me, and I was told I should just do it more to make it stop. Sounds vaguely like a dog deciding that chewing on stitches will make them stop itching.

To top it off, I’m supposed to go get this little gum stimulator thing. It’s similar to the metal scraper they attack you with at the office, but it’s rubber and supposed to tighten the gums. Since mine have already started to yank away a bit (in the back, where it’s a bit difficult to floss or brush), I need to start doing this.

My visit ended with a lack of new brush (it’s the end of the month and they’re out), but floss was freely given. I was also admonished that because I have pretty teeth, I’m not allowed to ruin them by not flossing.

Okay. I get it. I’ll floss.

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