My teeth and what they have taught me

by Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, Australia

My teeth used to really distress me, and visits to the dentist even more so. Not because I was scared, but because I just didn’t get teeth, this part of our body that does not regenerate. It felt like my teeth were aliens in my body and didn’t behave how they should, but ran their own agenda.

  • You start with one filling and then you have more.
  • You keep getting bigger fillings as new bits of decay appear.
  • Bits of a tooth might break off requiring reconstructive work.
  • A tooth comes out, and of course it doesn’t grow back and you get a bridge.
  • Another tooth comes out and you decide you can’t afford the bridge and leave the gap; and also, it is at the back of your mouth. But chewing becomes a bit more difficult and uneven, food can get stuck and the teeth on either side of the gap start leaning across.
  • More teeth come out and you need dentures or decide to have implants.
  • Your gums are not looking that great, they bleed a lot and your teeth are sensitive.
  • You want to have implants but there might be problems with the bones of your jaw.

And so the list goes on.

I found teeth depressing and visits to the dentist a bit of a downer. They do a great job and I haven’t really had any bad experiences at all, but the relentlessness of the deterioration, no matter how slow and well managed, together with the perpetual catch-up and “what’s the bad news?” flavour of each dental visit, never failed to put a dampener on me.

This all changed when I started attending Universal Medicine workshops and presentations. I learnt about taking responsibility rather than taking my health for granted and considering myself mainly indestructible (except for my teeth, that is). And I got to understand that teeth are a reflection of my past choices, all of them.

As I started making more self-loving choices in the way I lived, I actually began to floss more regularly, rather than just the obligatory half-hearted manoeuvres I had previously executed once or twice a week. And because I knew and could feel that it was about me and for me, I started to enjoy looking after myself in this way and flossing daily became part of my rhythm, part of what I do for me.

I really started to appreciate my teeth for the role they play and what they are there to show me, whatever their state of health or lack of it might be, and that includes my gums, which, by the way, have improved out of sight.

And I found a great dental practice so I now look forward to my dental visits, and the level of care and attention to detail that I am afforded is truly amazing. No longer are my teeth aliens in my body; they are alive and communicating to me by the way they present. Visits to my dentist are not obligatory catch-up procedures anymore, but opportunities to appreciate what is being offered by my body and to deepen my understanding, appreciation and self-care.

989 thoughts on “My teeth and what they have taught me

  1. What we despise and rail against is not life but the results of the choices that we have made. We think we can’t enjoy this world but everything is possible if we are willing to change. Thank you Gabriele.

    1. Everything opens up and changes when we return to and reclaim who we are. There is then nothing mundane about life, even the most repetitive and previously routine activities. Every moment offers more awareness and more expansion.

  2. I think it really can make a big difference to appreciate our body, all of it and what it might be reflecting back to us about our way of living, so rather than something just being a drag or inconvenience there is the opportunity to learn and implement that greater awareness in our life.

    1. When something is a drag, it drags indeed and is no fun at all; this mainly happens when we do things routinely and without being present in and with our body.

  3. Also it needs to be noted that from a dentist’s point of view, dealing with people not dealing with their past choices can be quite a toxic process. If our dentists are not given adequate training to understand what they are working with here, then it is little wonder they have one of the highest suicide rates of all professions.

  4. When we see what is there to be seen, without the usual veil of ignorance on, we can make the changes that need to be made so that we can immerse ourselves more completely into life.

  5. ‘Visits to my dentist are not obligatory catch-up procedures anymore, but opportunities to appreciate what is being offered by my body and to deepen my understanding, appreciation and self-care.’ Love it! How many of us dread going to the dentist, but what you are sharing here is that they can quite literally be a joy!

  6. Having very similar experiences as Gabrielle with the dentist in the past and now not eating any sugar for years, it feels great to be finally taking deeper care of my teeth and gums as part of my daily routine. My receding gums are actually now improving and are much healthier, but it shows that the momentum of living the majority of my life in total disregard of my body and in a drive has long lasting effects that will take time to heal. The cool thing is when we take responsibility for our choices that created the dental issues, it is a great opportunity to heal much more than just our teeth and gums, but our emotional issues in life as well.

  7. Many years ago I had a very bad experience at the dentist whereby I had a root canal and felt every stab while they were destroying the nerves. Afterwards, I was very shaken up and couldn’t go back to work. As a result, I couldn’t go near a dentist for a good few years. Then I found an all-female practice who were very understanding, and they helped me step by step to gain my confidence back. Now I find myself with a new dentist having moved from the area and will need to have a crown put on my tooth this March, still a bit nervous of having another procedure other than a clean but I cannot put it off any longer. I agree with the writer of this blog that there is more to our teeth than what we want to know and that like every other part of our body they are showing us our choices.

  8. I have discovered that my teeth also let me know if my food choices are not suiting my digestion – they become super-sensitive and have dull ache all through them.

  9. What a great example of how everything in life is a lesson, everything to reflect and show us things that we need to know to grow, evolve and be more of whom we are.

  10. A beautiful way to turn this experience around and not see teeth as a burden but as an opportunity to reflect to us our past choices. And of course, our current choices, therefore, matter so taking more care of yourself supports your teeth and you.

  11. I used to cringe when I went to the dentist as I was always exposed in how disregarding I was with my teeth and gums, now I rarely have any problems due to the time and care I have put into looking after my teeth – having a consistent self-care routine is certainly worth investing in.

  12. Such a beautiful blog on how doing the simplest of things like flossing our teeth when done in connection can literally change our lives.

  13. My teeth have helped me learn that life is full of reflections and there is no bad one to receive. They have revealed how I continue on doing things I know aren’t true as long as I don’t suffer immediate pain, and how I will overlook the reality if things look good on the surface. Ah – the wisdom of the tooth is enough to fill many books. Thank you Gabriele.

  14. I can fully appreciate the past dreaded annual check-ups with the Dentist and the hygienist that would continue to give me the same advice that I would ignore for another year. I should be toothless by now if I did not change the way I had been living. Now the annual visit is one of many confirmations of the self-care for myself I have chosen.

    1. Same for me – I made a wide berth around any hygienist and say I did not need to be shown how to clean my teeth; after all, I had been doing it since early childhood. Little did I know and even less did I want to know about flossing etc.

  15. A great example of how we can have a completely different relationship if we choose to visit a dentist/doctor regularly as part of our self-care routine, or out of necessity because there’s something needs fixing. And what I am finding is that having self-care as part of foundation supports us not to feel so out of control even when something does need fixing.

    1. It’s the difference between not being at the mercy of one’s body when seeing it as a mere unit of function but rather appreciating and honouring it as a vehicle that the Soul can come through.

  16. I do find I don’t pay enough attention to my teeth. I always have good intentions of flossing more regularly, but this usually only happens after each dentist visit – and the lead up to one (you know, where we think if we quickly start doing it, the dentist will think we always do it? Yeah, they’re not stupid…they know!!). It’s something to ponder why I don’t feel that my teeth deserve the same attention as the rest of my body.

    1. Consistency might be the key here plus the fact that we are not flossing for the dentist but for ourselves and our health and well-being.

  17. Great blog Gabriele. A greater level of responsibility and self care with my own health, brought vast changes to the state of my teeth and gums (even in my 60’s) – what was previously thought as normal tooth health, was soon exposed to be the complete opposite.

  18. I have had the same dentist for over 25 years who is an amazing tender man whom I love having my check ups and treatments with. He really supports me in valuing my teeth and the important role they play in my overall wellbeing. I travel over 90 miles by public transport to see him and am willing to make this effort as I know how super important my dental health is.

  19. ” Visits to my dentist are not obligatory catch-up procedures anymore, but opportunities to appreciate what is being offered by my body and to deepen my understanding, appreciation and self-care. ” It’s amazing how once we tune into self health care and feel the benefits of same, it then become a loving obligation which we appreciate how wonderful.

  20. I used to get anxious every time I went to the dentist because of my childhood experiences. Finding a good dentist that is willing to take the time to connect is part of taking care of my body and making more self loving choices.

  21. I never used to be caring with my body in the sense of going to doctors unless I was really sick or the dentist. Since I have come to realise how important and self-loving it really is to do this I go to the dentist and hygienist on a regular basis and it feels really amazing to look after myself in this way.

  22. I have always looked after my teeth, however there is always a deeper level of care we can go to, brushing with more love, deepening our connection to ourselves as we realise that it’s not just about the act of brushing our teeth, because the health of our teeth affects the whole of our body.

  23. It is interesting that teeth are often seen as difficult and toothbrushing and flossing like chores we don’t like to do. It is only when I realised it is an super important part of caring for myself to lovingly brush my teeth that this changed and the brushing, flossing and interdental brushing twice a day have become a loving routine instead of a chore I do on and off.

    1. I have been resistant to flossing and can relate to the obligatory one or twice a week attempts and it feeling more like a chore than an act of loving-self care… but I am inspired to turn this around.

  24. I am now appreciating how my teeth and gums have highlighted the disregard I was in and that you cannot rush and half-heartedly brush and floss your teeth and expect them to be healthy. It was a reflection of how I felt about myself and that I was too tired to care enough to look after them with true care. Now in building my self-worth and listening far more to my body my brushing and flossing ritual has completely changed and I love taking the same amount of care in brushing and flossing each tooth and the attention to detail feels incredibly supportive with how I begin and end the day.

  25. My dentist was a bit shocked on our first meeting as I don’t smoke or eat high amounts of sugar (high for me being sweet potato and the rare apple) I floss once and brush twice a day. I love my oral routine as if I don’t do it I feel yuck inside, not just my mouth but all over. I haven’t always done this but the more I appreciated bringing this care to myself the more normal it has become.

    1. Quite telling of the state of our oral health worldwide when a dentist is shocked that a patient has good oral hygiene.

  26. If teeth are a reflection of our past choices and we know we have not been living in a way that deeply honours the physical form we are enhoused within, then it makes sense that we close our eyes and open our mouths wide in the dentist chair in the dread of what is to come. It is not the pain we fear so much as the moment of accountability that comes with the discomfort of knowing we are not living true to who we are. I love how you have so turned this around Gabriele – it never is too late to take the simple steps that address this issue.

    1. Great point – it’s the moment of reckoning, of accountability and being faced with past choices that constitute the basis for the physical pain which, of course, modern dentistry is well on top of.

      1. No different to any other visit to a GP and identifying all the other choices that are played out in our body.

  27. This is a huge turn around from the start to finish of this article. I was a no go to dentist style of person and really had no plans of ever going back unless I really really needed to and then I remember going and being impatient to get out of there again, just fix it and let’s get on with things. Dentists and teeth were a bit of a hassle and yet as this article is saying we can learn so so much from how our teeth are and how we are with our teeth. I have changed my ways and the dentist is a regular check up thing and I love the feeling of walking out with clean teeth which reminds me also that I am due to go to one now. My teeth are a part of my body and I know the more care I take with myself the more I can see what’s truly going on around me.

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