Remember when tooth loss was rewarded in cool hard cash courtesy of the tooth fairy? Well, I reckon she’s got shares in my dentist and is making that money back right now. After many years reasonably free of dental treatment (excepting the odd clean and polish and a couple of wisdom teeth extractions (my mouth was too small – alright!) a routine check up at the dentist recently uncovered that I have moderate gum disease.
Moderate in that I have gum recession and small pockets next to some of my teeth where plaque goes to hide and gnaws away at my gums – gross – I know! Moderate in the fact that I’ve had to have three ‘deep cleans’ at the dentist over the past three weeks and now have to go back for a clean every three months (apparently six monthly check ups aren’t suitable for little ole’ me).
The fact that I’ve had to foot the dental bill is one thing £45.60 (thank goodness for the NHS, I dread to think how much that would have cost if I’d have gone private). The cost of the ongoing maintenance is quite another. Over the past few weeks I’ve purchased a new toothbrush, Corsydyl mouthwash, Dentyl mouthwash, Corsdyl toothpaste, Colgate toothpaste, interdental brushes and floss. If I don’t keep up the mouth maintenance I could lose my teeth (gum disease is hereditary in my family), meanwhile, it seems my teeth are turning into a bit of a cash cow for the dental industry.
I’ve also joyously suffered with an abscess (typically flaring up in the middle of a dinner party) and apparently I’m tooth grinding too (the dentist was going to file one of my teeth – yeeesh – but thought better of it when he had his work cut out for him with my gums.) Interestingly, after the dentist had asked me to open and close my mouth several times goldfish stylee, he asked me to rate my stress levels at work and home. A wry smile came on my face as I thought about it. Home life isn’t stressful at all, I love where I live and who I live with. If housework could be automated, sure, that would help but I’ve no complaints. Work is a different matter however, so reserving 10/10 for firefighters and members of the army, and 9/10 for doctors and nurses. I settled for 8/10. It seems stress can make both tooth grinding and gum disease worse. So my new mantra? ‘I can’t get stressed; my teeth will fall out’.
In the meantime I’ll keep up the brushing, flossing and mouthwashing. Although… wonder how much the tooth fairy would pay out for a full set of adult gnashers…? Hmmm, gurning on the wedding pictures – perhaps not the best look.