Do you remember when you were really little and you moaned about having to brush your teeth TWO times a day? Do you remember when you tried everything you could to pretend you had done them twice, when really, you had the brush in your mouth and stood there like butter wouldn’t melt? Do you remember only being vividly interested in your teeth when Do you remember you parents saying ”you’ll regret not looking after your teeth when you’re older, you only get one set? Do you remember vividly thinking ‘what do they know, they’re only adults; they’re only parents’?
Well, they were right….
I want to get a few things out of the way straight away. I don’t enjoy going to the dentist, no one does, but I will go if I need to. I really don’t like the feeling of a brush against my teeth or the burning sensation after swilling mouthwash, but I do it. I really hate toothache. I really hate bad breath. I really hate the feeling of moss tooth. It just hasn’t always been like this.
I always thought I knew better. I was rather lax with tooth brushing when I was younger, and if I am hones, the act of doing it is still on my bullet journal daily tracker to remind me that I really should keep the habit up. I didn’t enjoy it and always thought, well I go to the dentist, I still have teeth and I don’t get toothache, so I’ll be fine. And so this continued, and went on, and I only got more responsibility when the problems started.
I quickly learnt that the problems do start. Firstly, the cost of the dentist. In reality, the small price paid is absolutely worth it to keep a healthy set of teeth. I wish this was the mindset I could have when I didn’t have to go. I don’t go to the dentist (or the dreaded hygienist) nearly as often as I should, in fact, the last time I went was when I left my cracked tooth too long, the abscess that was inevitable formed, and my face swelled ridiculously.
The time taken, the fact it costs money now as I am an adult, and of course knowing that I will never ever enjoy the experience always has and always will puts me off.
Toothache is a bitch. Let me tell you, as someone who has suffered too many injuries in her life, toothache is stupidly annoying for something that is often so avoidable. When you’re young and carefree with your dental care, it doesn’t matter so much because you lose most of the first set of teeth. The second set come through, they’re pearly white and sturdy as anything, you just don’t forsee problems. Now as I am older, I have fillings, I have a tooth will a hole, and I am regretting all those times I just couldn’t be bothered picking a toothbrush up. Abscesses are horrible, evil things that cause your face to swell and you to realise that you’re eating gunky tapas on Europa League final night.
I finally realise too, Reader, why so many commercials and tubes have whitening agents in them. I am not someone who is super aesthetically focused about anything really, but I do notice teeth. Having yellowing teeth, or greying teeth, having plaque and holes, is unattractive to anyone. The lure of the products to fix it is high! So why didn’t the lure of having nice teeth bother me as a child when everyone in the older population told me I would feel this way?
I feel like this post sums up a lot of my views on childhood vs adulthood and the very process of adulting. We flounder through childhood listening to no-one, having fun, and in no way preparing ourselves for adult life. When we get there, time is passing, and it is often too late to change habits that have spent a quarter of a century forming, we think why didn’t I listen and learn more instead of eating grass, learning to do a cartwheel, and being awesome at the ‘Walking the Dog Yo-Yo’ trick?