I come from a family of orally sound people. Well, sort of. Mum had a mouth full of teeth growing in all directions and had fillings out the wazoo. She claimed that when she was a kid, fillings were just what dentists did and the drills weren't that well developed, and so in her opinion the drilling for the first had destroyed the structural integrity of her other teeth and it was a domino effect after that. Dad, on the other hand, didn't believe in dentists and whenever he got a toothache he would extract the tooth himself. By the time he was 68 or so he only had 7 left, which wasn't really enough to chew with, so he got those extracted and got false teeth. He then proceeded to spend the rest of his life complaining about them.
Hmm.. so maybe my parents weren't the best examples, tooth-wise. My brother and I both inherited Mum's tooth-growth quirks (if you ever see us side by side we both have the same crossover in the front) but Dad's generally pretty good teeth. And the folks (read: Mum didn't want us to do what Dad did and Dad didn't want us to do what Mum had done) were pretty determined to make sure we had good healthy teeth. So we got the fluoride toothpaste and the fluoridated water* and we brushed twice daily and visited the dental nurse and flossed and ate apples and basically did everything right. The result of which is that I have no fillings and as far as I know, neither does grist.
Now you'd think that would make going to the dentist much less scary right? Except that I have no experience of what getting a filling feels like, and have only heard a bunch of horror stories. My only experience of dental surgery was getting my wisdom teeth removed because they were growing in funny, and that was a bloody and traumatic experience that left me looking like Brent Todd for a week:
So instead of skipping to the dentist going "Yay! Check me out being virtuous!" I mostly slink there going "Urk maybe this is the time they tell me I need 12 root canals and pull out the shackles and giant jackhammer *meep*"
Of course they never do, and I have no reason to believe they will this time either. However, like many kiwis I have struggled with gingivitis on and off for years, and lately it's become more of an issue. I'm also terrified of the cleaning process where they use the pick and the scraper because they always seem to manage to stick it into the sensitive parts of my teeth and just no. But I expect that's what I'll end up needing to have done. Hold me.
One of the reasons I'm determined to get on top of the gum problems is that it gives me bad breath. Yeah, that thing that nobody wants and nobody's willing to tell you when you have it. I, having no shame, ask. Because I figure if I suspect but don't know then the way to find out is to get a second opinion, and who wants to go through life being the one that everybody secretly avoids getting close to? Yeah, that'd be me. And it turns out that I do occasionally have bad breath and THIS WILL NOT DO. So today I am going to steel myself and tell the dentist to do whatever it takes to fix this. For the most part, I'm doing everything right. I brush and floss regularly, I eat lots of fruit and vegies, I drink lots of water and I don't smoke - therefore the cause of my problem is most likely the gum problems and to fix that I need more expert advice.
Wish me luck.
By the way, telling someone they have bad breath is like telling someone their partner is cheating on them - it's fucking hard but it's the ethical thing to do. So if you know someone who's a bit stinky, tell them. They may not thank you straight away but they'll be glad to know. Trust me.
In other news, I may have slipped and bought drug books. It's been a while since I added to my library but it occurred to me that in the last little while things have started coming together for me to step more fully into the field with that, and that by the end of this year I may be better known among those who ought to know. I'll also be looking at what to do post grad. Which are all just excuses, but the lecturer for the course that starts next week gave a recommended reading list that contained over 60 titles. I bought 3. See? I am a picture of restraint.
Rethinking Substance Abuse
Legalising Drugs: Debates and Dilemmas
Drugs, Crime and Public Health
I note that none of the titles on the recommended reading list suggest a topic similar to the one I'd like to research. I'm guessing this is because nobody's done it. At least I hope so...
I might have to shear 40 lambs tomorrow. Yikes.
* Oh look, grist and I both have functioning brains and haven't grown any extra heads. Amazing, I know.