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.

1,014 thoughts on “My teeth and what they have taught me

  1. Linda I have noticed this last 2 weeks that there is something going on with my teeth. By reading your comment I gave myself a moment to stop and feel what they are communicating to me. It feels as though there is another level of care that I need to embrace a deeper level of self appreciation.

  2. I changed my dentist recently and had my first appointment. I had specifically asked for the gentlest dentist they had and she is very gentle. Everything was explained to me including the x-rays – she has been the first dentist to ask if I wanted to see them! I was told that my teeth were in good condition and that the bone that my teeth sit in was very strong which was unusual for someone my age. And by discussing my treatment with her, she was able to tell me that they could give me a local anaesthetic that wouldn’t make me feel racy, this was a revelation to me and when I had to have some work done on a tooth and I was given this particular anaesthetic, my body didn’t race, it was a completely different experience.

  3. What you offer here is an opportunity to consider the fine detail we are willing to bring to our self-care and the option to see everything we do as an opportunity to deepen that relationship.

  4. Awesome love it, amazing how much more insight we receive when we open up to love and its endless possibilities.

    1. Something I can only confirm after yesterday’s visit to the periodontist – another level of care to go to has been offered.

  5. I feel that teeth like our feet seem to get a raw deal as we tend not to take such great care of them as the rest of our body. But they are both very necessary for all the obvious reasons. I see some patients who have no teeth and no dentures and they have extreme difficulty in speaking and eating anything that is not smashed up for them.

  6. Gabriele, I loved reading your perspective on teeth and agree to the hesitancy in visiting the dentist. Teeth aren’t visible until you smile, its a part of the body we don’t need to display daily, but do they project to others the self care we have for ourselves.

    It’s the first thing I notice when I speak with someone and every time they speak, the self care and nurturing of themselves says it all for me. So this is what I must be reflecting to others too.

    When I was younger, I ate, drank and smoked and my teeth were fine but there comes a point in time, where I had no choice but to take heed of what was going on with myself. I’m not at that point I need bridges, dentures etc, but they certainly cared for more lovingly than before. My evening rhythm of brushing is the same as I prepare to take my body to bed.

    For me what I realise more and more is that teeth require just the same level of care and attention as the rest of the body. As age goes by, the depth of care changes, it is that simple.

    1. You raise some great points here; unfortunately, despite all the dedication I have brought to my teeth over time, they don’t look that great and I can’t commit the funds on what is needed for veneers and braces, etc. That makes me realise that a lot of people might think I am not looking after my teeth from how they superficially look, bridges and crowns being reasonably invisible. Well, so be it I suppose – the care is still there and I have to put to rest what I cannot practically attend to. Incidentally, I have applied for straight beautiful teeth next time around!!!

  7. What you share in appreciation at the end of your blog Gabriele is a far cry from how you felt about your teeth at the beginning. When we begin to self nurture and self care the level of commitment we can bring to ourselves and then to all others we are with is pretty incredible.

  8. It is inspiring to read how your relationship with your teeth has changed and the appreciation you now feel for all that they share with you. I am much more diligent in how I care for my teeth but am now feeling that there is a deeper level to go to with appreciation not only for how they support me every day but also the reflection that they offer me in how I am caring for myself.

  9. Every part of our body deserves the same attention and love. It’s amazing how it instantly responds and regenerates very quickly when we offer what it needs.

  10. At my last routine visit to the dentist, a hygienist showed me how I could floss with more care and attentiveness, taking the angle of each tooth into account. Sure, it takes a bit longer, but I am having absolute fun with it as it is far more satisfactory and each move feels more purposeful.

    1. The more we dedicate ourselves to the details, the more rewarding and fun it gets. I discovered this recently with a rather cumbersome 14-page form I had to fill in. Once I moved past the resentment and read each question with interest and openness, the form started to make sense and was done without an ounce of negativity..

      1. That is so true – when we give attention to details they are no longer meaningless peripherals we once brushed off. They become alive and we can have a relationship with it.

  11. “because I knew and could feel that it was about me and for me, I started to enjoy looking after myself” It can be very noticeable that when we start to truly care for ourselves, including our teeth, then our overall health improves.

  12. Important with any diseases part of the body to understand what happened, why and use it as an opportunity to be be more loving with ourselves.

    1. Kehinde it is spot on in bringing understanding to what happened. Every time I had a tooth pulled out, I used to get wiped out and I needed to rest deeply that day, a rest like no other. And when the tooth was gone, it felt like there was a big crater and emptiness left behind, and the other teeth were mourning, for the loss of another. Weird feeling I know, though being honest here.

      1. Shushila, I love that you rested deeply after your tooth extraction, Sometimes we miss this very important step, essential for our recovery From recent experience, tooth extraction can be very painful too, but is also a massive clearing. The gap left behind symbolic of space and potential. As is said ‘watch this space’

      2. Well, in that case I better start to embrace my gap – so far I have been fighting it, wanting it to not be there; thanks for the inspiration.

  13. Like you Gabriel I came to appreciate and care for my teeth when I met a dentist that cared about me and my teeth and supported me to be the same. It took some convincing to build trust between us, but once I did, my teeth became integral to my self care routine. In twenty years I’ve had a couple of procedures, but no longer neglect my teeth or take them for granted.

    1. It is said that if we ignore something long enough, it goes way – in the case of our teeth, that is a very poor prognosis indeed as they do not thrive on neglect and nor does the rest of our body and being. With the right support, everything can be turned around.

      1. Well said – we do not thrive on neglect. If you ignore a leak it simply erodes in the background till you are prepared to deal with the leak, and of course the ensuing complication from ignoring the leak in the first place!!!

  14. Well I think my teeth are one part of my body that is certainly slightly neglected, while I do brush the obligatory twice a day – reading your blog I can sense there is much greater levels of care that I could take in this area.

    1. Whether we do things perfunctorily and because we should or whether we apply ourselves to even the minutest detail of daily life makes a huge difference to our health and vitality. The former is rather more duty-bound and feels heavy while the latter brings joy and aliveness, makes our particles tingle.

  15. Taking responsibility for how we care for and look after ourselves sets a standard and a foundation of steadiness and solidness within. Committing to self care builds self worth and confidence.

  16. Gabriele, thank you for your sharing – I used to be scared of dentists too as it hurt to have my jaw open and it hurt to have the fillings done and then later in it hurt to get braces and it hurt to wear braces. I would find it hard to relax in the dentist chair as I was so used to everything hurting that I would be bracing myself even when it was not hurting! But I did some across an amazing holistic dentist a few years ago who has made the experience completely different – she really connected with me and allowed me to feel so held during the treatments. She also helped me understand more about the teeth and how with the treatments there is so much going on in the body and the detox that follows that it was normal for someone as sensitive as me to feel raw and sensitive during and after the treatments. This was great to understand, and with that I am more caring and honouring of myself especially around dental treatments. What a blessing to offer myself!

    1. A supportive and understanding dentist is a real blessing; an experience like that can turn our whole dental history around.

      1. So true Gabriele, when you find a dentist that offers true care, the dental work offered can be so healing and supportive.

      2. With the help of a supportive and caring dentist, every appointment turns into a healing session.

  17. When we understand the bigger picture of why we do something and connect to the purpose of it, it shifts from being a chore to being something that is a joy to do, something we can look forwards to and feel the benefits all around. Even brushing teeth can feel like a tick box chore, but when we realise we are not just caring for our body right now but also laying a foundation of care for the future and beyond, with repercussions that are far wider reaching than we may initially have realised, it is amazing how the tooth brushing experience changes and is far more enjoyable. This of course can be applied to all other ‘chores’ and especially those self care ones that we can do out of obligation or because of the ‘this is what we do’ approach.

    1. Chores, duties, obligations and rules come with a heaviness that can be hard to dispel unless we connect and do everything with presence; only then is there room for more awareness and joy.

    2. Brushing our teeth offers us a marker twice a day (at least) of how we are feeling, how is our body going, how willing are we to look into our eyes without looking away…every moment is an opportunity to bring deep care and love to ourselves so we can walk that in our daily living.

      1. I love that connection between brushing teeth and looking into my eyes – I shall try that for sure.

  18. I always find it interesting how we can be so dismissive about a part of our body, and treat it with disregard, when every part of our body is as equally important to every other part, as without it there would be an imbalance with the way everything functions. Bringing our attention and focus to an area such as our teeth is deeply supportive, in more ways than we would imagine.

    1. We can’t in truth piece up life or our body– “everything is everything” after all, as presented by Serge Benhayon and evidenced every day.

  19. I have recently made some big changes to my oral care by committing to using soft picks (similar to floss) twice a day and exploring how to keep this new part of my routine simple and easy so I never forget. Now my routine is in place I am concentrating more on the quality I do my flossing with – from the function or remembering to do it, to now flossing in a way that is gentle and delicate. It’s like a healing for my whole mouth and changes the energetic quality. What’s been interesting is with this change I’ve been developing a deeper relationship with my teeth and gums, if they are bleeding there are things for me to look at to support my health and wellbeing as that is a sign from my body something is up. I also feel much more appreciation for this wonderful area of the body now, as well as the care from my dentist and his gentle encouragement to deepen my self care. I have also massaged my gums based on the Esoteric Massage technique of gentle anticlockwise circles which I have to say felt amazing. I am lavishing care on a place that was once neglected!

    1. Taking care of our teeth and gums can be vey enjoyable and is certainly rewarding; and a lot chaper than having a lot of dental work.

    2. Melinda I agree with you the moment we have bleeding gums while brushing our teeth it is a communication from our bodies to show us that there is something up and we need to look deeper into the meaning of the signal. To ignore any signal our bodies give us is not wise, The signals are there as a whistleblower that we are not in tune with our innermost connection to God.

  20. Our teeth are a great reflection of how we care for ourself, it is the start of caring for our whole body, because the more we concentrate on one part and become consistent we realise that there are other areas that need our attention too.

    1. We make a start with one area and keep going until the realisation dawns that it is one body which in its entirety deserves nothing less than our whole attention, love and care – just as much as we cannot in truth compartmentalise life, it is after all, one life.

    1. Caring for our teeth can easily be put into the tedium and same-same every day basket but rushing through it and taking short-cuts is not only disregard of self and the body but nearly always much more costly down the track.

  21. If our teeth are a part of our body that does not regenerate, then it stands that they will reflect the energetic quality of our previous choices and whether these were made with love or against it.

    1. Best thing I ever did having half my rotten teeth out – long gone my past rotten choices and now I have some beautiful dentures to match my beautiful choices

  22. I have also changed my relationship with my body as you describe here gabrieleconrad from seeing it as an enemy and a nuisance to a good friend offering me constant counsel and communication.

  23. We so clearly have a choice when it comes to how we relate to our body: resent it for not conforming to our demands and expectations, and for failing us when we’ve overloaded it, or adore it, cherish it, and treasure and align to its constant communication – and enjoy feeling more connected, and more alive, as a result.

    1. Bryony I can feel how you are inviting us all to go deeper in our communication with our bodies, I love the idea of adoring my body as it has been so neglected in this life and I feel previous lives. To actually claim and take up all the space in our body, rather than living just from our minds which has a tendency to disregard our bodies.

      1. The mind has no teeth, doesn’t get bleeding gums or a tooth ache and overall, doesn’t much care about the body unless it is about fashioning and shaping it in a way that satisfies its desires but never the true needs of our body and that it is to be honoured and listened to.

  24. I never had a lot of difficulties with my teeth or even fillings, so going to the dentist to me was as easy as going to the park. The only thing that really stood out was they didn’t want to stay in the line the orthodontist once put them. Of course moving teeth is just as much communication as are other signals from the teeth. Two years ago I went to see an esoteric dentist in Brisbane and the treatment I got there had such a big impact on me and my well being. She cleaned my teeth thoroughly and it felt like I let go of age-old stuff and I learned that crowded teeth are about holding on to things. So now 2 years later I have my teeth perfectly lined up and it is like I changed as well. The shape of my face has changed and I have a lot more space in my mouth.

    1. That’s a great insight – crowded teeth signalling that we hold on to stuff, especially what doesn’t serve us any longer and possibly, never has in truth.

      1. I love what you suggest here Gabriele, that holding onto anything never serves in truth. So why would we want to hold onto things, for comfort, not having to be aware and responsible? Holding on prevents us from deepening and expanding.

      2. Thank you. When I was young I had to have teeth taken out because my mouth was too crowded – I am feeling now a lot of what that was about was holding back on expression too….holding on to stuff in many different ways…lots to ponder on and share…I know so many people who have had their teeth straightened because the teeth were fighting for space in their mouths. We don’t need to carry our stuff from one life time to another….. great to discard as much as we can and start again with a new slate next time around – and a great yes to deepening and expanding.

      3. Our teeth reveal a lot about how we have lived, this life and the ones before. They support us to evolve and deepen our livingness.

    2. Thank you for your comment Monika, that is an amazing experience and very interesting to read about. The body is communicating so much.

  25. The body is like one big alien until we choose to be more present with it, then we realise the various body parts have been communicating with us all along – we just chose to not listen.
    “No longer are my teeth aliens in my body; they are alive and communicating to me by the way they present.”

  26. This definitely inspires me to not just take my teeth for granted but pay them respect and care for them.

  27. Often, we do treat brushing our teeth as a chore and see it as a waste of time, but what this article shows us is that we can build a relationship with our teeth and that it benefits the whole body not just our teeth and gums. After all, it makes sense that if we are leaving things to go bad in the mouth the body has to fight the infection to keep us well, and sometimes it has to let the infection take over.

  28. I used to struggle with visits to the dentist, getting extremely anxious because of previous experiences as a child. Now I have found a dentist that is caring and discusses everything with me and understands my anxiousness as soon as I sit in the chair. This has made a huge difference but I also know that my own self care with my teeth makes sure that I am offering my dentist and hygienist a set of gums and teeth that are lovingly cared for and this makes a difference when I sit in the chair knowing that I have done my part to support them in their work.

    1. If we so choose, we are more than merely passive recipients of dental services but active co-contributors to the health of our teeth and gums and our whole body.

  29. To welcome visits to the dentist is the only way to be – since taking greater care of my own teeth, I now enjoy the reflections of what this offers.
    “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.”

  30. Taking health for granted is something that is coming into my awareness lately. Our body does know how to do it, but because we so often get in its way instead of fostering and supporting its way, we are having to make an effort to be healthy. Sometimes it feels almost like we just cannot believe how truly amazing we are.

    1. It is as though health was an extra task to take care of, on top of everything else, instead of the naturalness of everyday movements that it is.

      1. Love this, it is true health can be seen as an extra task to take care of on top of everything else, we have to do and and can be neglected and put to the bottom of the pile until the body tells us in its own way that we need to look at something. In truth our health and wellbeing should be top of the pile and be a normal part of our everyday checklist and not left until we have a problem.

  31. it is interesting to hear that teeth are part of our past choices, and to deeply consider that, but also to know that we are making current choices, and to deeply care for our teeth now sets a new and loving foundation.

  32. It truly is wondrous how there is not one part of our body that does not communicate to us about how we are living, in any aspect of our lives, serving the purpose if we are open to listening, to deepen our relationship to honouring our body and being as such allowing a deeper connection to love to be lived.

      1. Until we depart for a while and back again we come with a new body to continue the learning!

  33. It is great to hear your perspective on how it felt in the past to go to the dentist as I think many people can relate to you. That even though they did not have bad experiences the whole process is quite definite and there is so much that can go in the mouth. As a student dentist it is good to understand this and see that even though I know what is going on many patients might not know anything about it. It is good to feel and know there is a difference and that I need to understand and explain what is going on to my patients and take the time for that.

    1. Understanding of what patients might go through and taking the time to connect and communicate is definitely a much better start to the whole process of going to the dentist than a practitioner who is solely focussed on the outcome, i.e. on function and the end result.

  34. Our body reflects all of our choices including our teeth, which reflect not only the choices we make in this life but the choices we have made in past lives too, and through that we are able to deeply feel the patterns we have chosen and we have an opportunity to change the choices we make from now to those of a more loving nature that reflect the love we truly are.

  35. “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. ” When we learn to love ourselves more its amazing (or not) how much more care we take over even the smallest areas of our lives.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. ‘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!

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

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

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

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