As a little follow up to the last photo on the last post, here my thoughts on teeth. Any dentists out there are welcome to disagree with me and butt in with their comments, but I am very cynical about their profession.
Like any good boy I have always been told by my teachers and parents that it is vitally important to go to the dentist regularly at least every 6 months, whether you have a toothache or not. So I did for the first 21 years of my life. I never actually suffered from toothaches, except during actual visits to dentists. In those days they didn't give you any anaesthetic for some mere drilling, only for pulling.
In my experience at every visit to the dentist he always found something: "aahh, you have a bit of caries on your upper left molar. We need to drill that out and give you a filling." Next visit he'd have to replace that filling, drill out some more caries and start on a different tooth. Once he finished off my milkteeth in that matter, he started off on my adult teeth. Two of my molars he had managed to hollow out so much that they finally collapsed and he had to pull or rather extract them bit by bit. Much to my relief at the time as that would stop him drilling in them. The other plus was that that made some room for my wisdom teeth.
My last regular visit to this dentist was before a 6 month trip to India. I felt I better have my teeth looked at before trusting some village jaw breaker in a developing country. As a farewell present I got my one remaing molar filling replaced and the neighbouring tooth drilled into and filled.
Nothing happened in India. When I came back I moved to another city and I decided to give dentists a bit of a rest. 15 years later, I was falling into the same trap and tried encouraging my step-daughter to visit the dentist regularly, problems or no. She quite rightly pointed out to me that she never noticed me going, so I decided to register with a dentist for the first time in England.
This time round it turned out to be a rather attractive female Swedish dentist, which almost convinced me that I should go more regularly. When I answered 15 years to the usual dentist question: "how long since your last visit?", she looked rather taken back. "We better X-ray your teeth to see what's wrong with them". They didn't do that sort of thing last time I had gone.
Much to her disappointment, the X-ray didn't show any problems at all, so she proceeded in polishing my teeth (another novelty since my last visit) with a fancy machine and urged me to come back in 6 months time. I would have, if it hadn't been for the fact that free dental care had also become a thing of the past and I got charged £50 for nothing.
Since then I've had a problem some 3 years back when I bit onto an unpopped popcorn with my damaged molar (damaged by my original dentist now almost 30 years ago!). The outer wall is now slowly crumbling away and I get food trapped in there, which occasionally leads to infections. I went to see a Dutch dentist in Italy one day when this was particularly bad and she put a provisional filling in, which has now disappeared again. I find now that as long as I keep that tooth clean I have no problems.
Anyway, cut a long story short, I reckon dentist are just after your dosh when they tell you to come back every 6 months and they actually make the problems worse. And for toothepaste this is what we now do rather than buy unindentifiable crap from pharma concerns.
I mix up 3 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 a teaspoon of coarse sea salt, a teaspoon of dried mint and 4 or 5 fresh sage leaves and pulp them to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar.
Apply onto a wet tooth brush and brush your teeth. Sage is said to whiten teeth and strengthen gums. Dried mint freshens the breath. And if all else fails, chew some spilanthe.