I’d like to invite you into my past. Don’t be shy, come on in and take a seat as we transport back to 1981. I was five years old and the dentist used to visit our local school in a port-a-cabin. Remember those? We used to be taken out of class to see the dentist for a checkup, and then we would leave with a large round sticker with a slogan relating to happy smiley teeth or similar.
The smell of the dentist room is strong, and from the tiny waiting area, you can see through the cracks in the doors into the dentist “surgery”.
After these appointments at school, we were sent back to class with a letter or slip to take back to our parents. This would tell them how our teeth were.
From the port-a-cabin at school, I remember my Mum taking me to the local community hospital to see the same dentist as I needed a tooth removing. It was all about gas and air back then, and I remember to this day lying on the bed as the mask is on my face. The dentist is asking me to count backwards from ten and I remember feeling as though I was on the end of a long piece of elastic as I swung around and around above my head.
There were a few fillings for my before I was ten years old, and I remember my Mum mentioning that perhaps she shouldn’t have let me have my weekly sweets.
Fast forward a few year to when I was around fourteen, and it was time for braces. Bizarrely I wanted braces until I actually got them. My dentist was trialling neon bands for his train track braces and he thought I would be a good show case for him.
I suppose I was lucky that I only had to endure a top brace and not the bottom one as well. But you can imagine what being a fourteen year old girl with neon bands on her mouth did for attention at school can’t you!
I’m not going to dwell on the next two years until the braces were finally removed, but it made me despise going to the dentist, and from the day I turned sixteen and the braces were removed, me and the dentist parted ways.
Well I didn’t need a dentist, my teeth were fine now!
Fast forward to just before my thirtieth birthday, and I was pregnant with now 6yo. I had been very lucky to never experience any pain with my teeth, but when I got pregnant, and was sick every day, sometimes up to ten times a day, my teeth were the first to suffer.
I suspect with the amount of acid in my mouth from the bile, mixed with the fizzy energy drinks I was drinking which seemed to be the only thing to sooth my upset stomach at the time, the first time I tried to eat something healthy – an apple – my back tooth cracked and fell apart.
Around a month later, another tooth decided to fall in half as well, and it was from this moment on I started suffering with my teeth. Should I have gone to the dentist regularly over the last fourteen years? Probably, but I was more scared now of the unknown than ever before.
My broken teeth were a nuisance but not causing me any pain, so I still put off the visit to the dentist, more so now than ever before because I knew there would be lots of work to do once I got there.
When 6yo was coming up two years old, I decided that as I needed to register her for a dentist, I would do the grown up thing and go myself.
That first appointment was one of the scariest in my life. I knew it was only going to be a checkup, so there would be no drilling or needles, yet still my heart was beating so hard and loud that I’m surprised everyone else in the waiting room didn’t hear it. That smell was back as well, which made all the memories rush back up to the surface.
Two years of almost constant appointments, with tooth removal, fillings, an abscess that misdiagnosed lasted for ten months, a hospital visit, hearing the dentist who had misdiagnosed me had now left and was being sued, I finally had a checkup that ended in “We’ll see you in six month”.
I could have cried, I was so happy. I still don’t like dentists and I don’t think I ever will, but thankfully the fear hasn’t been passed down to 6yo and I have managed to overcome by visiting the dentist.
We’re now back in the present day, thanks for travelling on that journey with me.
One thing I have done over the years despite not visiting the dentist is to make sure I brush my teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. I’ve used a variety of toothbrushes and toothpaste over the years, all with differing opinions on how they all work. Currently I’m using the OralB Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste which has been clinically proven to help prevent and reduce gum problems in just four weeks.
I am very lucky that my gums don’t tend to bleed when I brush, but I am still conscious of having healthy gums, so will always do everything in my power outside of the dentist to ensure I look after my teeth the best I can.
The toothpaste is quite strong compared to others I have tried. It has a minty flavour, but seems to linger in my mouth for a lot longer after brushing. I have found that a little of this toothpaste goes a long way, so despite it’s slightly higher price tag than other brands, the tube is lasting longer as not as much appears to be needed.
This post is an entry for BritMums’ #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge sponsored by Oral-B, promoting healthy gums – something especially important for pregnant women. Get tips and advice on www.oralb-loveyourgums.com.