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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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