30 to 30: In which I finally learn the importance of dental hygiene

| by Bel | 2pm NZ time |

Until earlier this month, I hadn't been to the dentist in a long time. A really long time. Only one other time since I'd turned 18, in fact.

The long awaited check-up (#44 on my Day Zero Project list) revealed that I had a cavity in need of a filling, and a thorough clean to get rid of years of built-up plaque. Gawd, the clean was the worst bit of all. My hands were shaking - I had not expected that to be so intense.


The dentist was also able to confirm that I have no wisdom teeth. None at all, not ever. He told me that this evidently meant I was "more highly evolved". THAT'S A DIRECT QUOTE, PEOPLE. FROM A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

My youngest brother has only one wisdom tooth, whereas the other has a full set. He's the only one of us who doesn't need glasses though - so I've decided we all need to get body x-rays to check whose appendix is the smallest, so we can confirm which of us siblings is the most refined genetic specimen.

Why do we avoid things that we know are actually good for us? Money, I guess. That's hugely off-putting. It cost me about $300 all up for the clean and the filling - and most people have told me that's a pretty good deal. Unless you're actually in pain from your neglected, rotting teeth, it's easy to just spend your money elsewhere.

Live action shot of me cleaning my teeth.

But I am now determined to be a responsible teeth owner and go for an annual check-up, as well as using a soft brush, rinsing with mouthwash and even FLOSSING*. Perhaps that more highly evolved part of me is finally taking hold!

*The dental hygienist emphasised the importance of flossing (ugghhh) and said "You don't have to do it when you brush your teeth. You can do it any time, even just while you're watching TV." Is this a thing?? Are people out there, watching Shorty Street as they seesaw dangling bits of floss through their teeth?! Really?? I compromised and am doing my flossing while in the shower. Which is way more normal.

3 thoughts on “30 to 30: In which I finally learn the importance of dental hygiene”

  1. When I arrived in the UK I'd had a filling fall out on my way here so knew I needed to go but was terrified of the cost. Eventually I got the filling replaced and refused to allow the dentist to do a general check-up or x-rays, as it would assumedly cost a gazillion pounds.

    Then a couple of years later someone tells me about the wonders of NHS dentistry so I went and got a check-up (full price: £16), then had to get some fillings (full price: £40-something, minus the £16 you've already paid), then it turned out one of my teeth had rotted away and I needed a root canal and crown (full price: £180 minus the £40-something). BOOM. If I lived in NZ and needed serious dentistry, I would probably literally just build it into a UK holiday and go to the NHS.

    (I don't think about the fact that if I'd known about and utilised the NHS earlier and gotten the x-rays way back when my tooth wouldn't have got to the point of a root canal...)

    Anyhoo- the dentist emphasised the importance of flossing, and actually showed and explained to me why using the x-rays. Since then I've been a committed flosser, and honestly looking back I think it is disgusting not to floss. Once you've regularly seen what gets caught between those teeth... *shudders*