Monday, October 26, 2009

I've never had an unkind hygienist

I hate going to the dentist. I hate having a bright light shining in my eyes and rubber gloves in my mouth and nice hygienists asking you questions while your mouth is stretched open as far as it'll go. I hate the posters on the walls and the vulnerability of being at the hygienist's mercy. To quote Gurgle in Finding Nemo -- "The human mouth is a disgusting place." I really don't like thinking about it. And so I feel guilty that the place I hate so much is a privilege that so many people don't have. I mean, this is a testament to the fact that I live in a nation of unprecedented prosperity, that when I was given my fluoride treatment I had the choice between four different flavors. This privilege feels hollow.

Actually, can I just say, fluoride is poison. Fluoride is more toxic than lead and only slightly less toxic than arsenic. It accumulates in your body, and the distinction between "safe" and "unsafe" amounts is extremely fuzzy. Why are they making me take this, according to my Google search fluoride isn't even that great for one's teeth! I don't want this stuff in my mouth, even if it is grape flavored!

So I floss now. I mean, I flossed before. Like twice a week. When I wasn't in a hurry to get to sleep, and when I remembered to floss. I know how good flossing is for oneself, that it can prevent heart disease and add up to three years onto your life, and I know periodontal disease is awful and stuff. I just thought flossing regularly was overrated, so I didn't do it regularly. I didn't really get its importance. What's a good enough reason?

I think I must be so wise in my own eyes. I have to know things first hand and for myself before I can see any reason to care. Which means I'm not easily bandwagoned, but, it's a fallacy to treat my own mind as the end of all good reasons. I definitely don't know all that's good for me. I'm struggling with this idea of taking counsel, of taking steps that aren't my own, of trusting other people to tell me what I ought to do. It's a dangerous tightrope. But, the dentist tells me I need to floss every day, and, I can't be an expert on dentistry. I'll trust him, and floss every day. I'll take their toxic fluoride treatments. And I'll be thankful that I have access to experts I can trust.

Sometimes I foolishly wish I knew everything. But it is a blessing to be able to trust.


Luke said...

I used to want to be a dentist.....

Hayley said...

Why'd you change your mind?

Art said...

I'm with past you on the flossing, bad me.