Started out this day by going at 9 am to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I don’t know how many years it’s been now since I started going to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned three times a stinking year. Twenty though would be a good guess.
Hell, it hurts. Who looks forward to getting his teeth cleaned? Well, it doesn’t so much hurt, except for the moment when that pointy cleaning thing hits a nerve, as grind me down. I just feel exhausted after as if somebody had been beating me with sandbag for an hour. I know that the days I get my teeth clean I will be screwed for the rest of the day.
Anyway, more than 20 years ago, the dentist at that time—his name was Lance and long ago moved to Australia—told me I had gingivitis. I didn’t know what the hell that was, at that time, but it sounded dangerous, and when he said all my teeth might fall out if it got really bad I figured I would do the teeth cleaning thing. I know they have good artificial choppers out there, but there’s something about going to your grave with the originals I think.
For a long time though I would go in, and the hygienist would not be pleased with my progress. Have you been flossing, that was always the question. She had this sign taped to the roof so that when you looked up from the dental chair you could read, “Floss or Die!” I would usually mumble something about having done it but maybe not being as regular about it as I might have been to sort of placate this flossing obsessed person. Then she would go in there and beat the hell out of my gums for an hour.
I never have mastered flossing really. I do it intermittently if I remember usually while watching TV. I have those little dental floss holders scattered all over the place, though usually I can’t find one. And if I do find one and floss, I don’t know what to do with the used floss while I am sitting there in front of the TV, so sometimes I go around with pieces of floss dangling out of my pocket.
What really saved my ass gingivitis-wise was a) getting a new hygienist who doesn’t believe in hounding a person about flossing and b) one of those electric toothbrushes that started coming out in the late 80’s I think. I never was a good tooth brusher either, but with one of the electric things it is hard not to do at least a half-assed job. Anyway, I still have my teeth, less tarter build up, less bleeding from the gums. Anyway my gums seem to give me less trouble, though frankly that might be because I have a lot less gum than I had 20 years ago.
They want me to come back in soon because in this last hectic year I forgot I had to get a cavity fill and a cap put in to cover over the hole left left my one of the huge fillings I got back in the late 50’s and early 60’s cracked and fell out.
Damn! I have fillings that are 40 years old.
As a dental hygienist for over 35 years, your story made me cringe. Ouch! I have never beat my patients up with flossing . . . no sense to that because realistically, only about 12 percent of the population actually does floss. Imagine, we dental professionals keep on telling our patients, year after year, to brush, floss, and see us twice a year (in your case 3 times) and yet 75-90 people out of a hundred have gingivitis or even more advanced, periodontitis. Does that make any sense? That sure doesn’t seem like a winning formula to me.
I recommend several things to you and your readers.
Use baking soda, salt, and hydrogen peroxide as a toothpaste.
Brush your teeth AND your gums, (and don’t forget your tongue!) everyday.
Use an irrigator to flush away bacteria and food debris – which is a whole lot easier to use than floss.
Feel free to peruse my website, http://www.mamagums.com for additional information on how to avoid gum disease and especially, gum surgery.
There is a Free Oral health chart there (under PRODUCTS) that you can download with my recipe for the toothpaste and my daily recommendations for good oral health.
I apologize to you for the abuse my profession has put you through. So sorry.