I never know how to feel about my teeth. I don’t think they’re horrible to look at, but I certainly wouldn’t want to flash them to onlookers. For my interest (what little interest I possess in my teeth) they are perfectly tolerable. I call on them to masticate my boluses, and they perform quite well.
I never know how to feel about my dentist either. My dentist looks at my mouth for about 10 minutes, while the nurse or hygienist spends the majority of my visit violently scraping away at the boundaries of my oral cavity. When I visit my dentist’s clinic, all I expect is to be told to floss more regularly.
I never floss regularly. Even before beginning to work on my mouth, my hygienist commented that she could tell my gums were unhealthy. She further commented that, as she worked, there was a lot of bleeding; healthy gums do not bleed. She said that my gums suck, and that I have gingivitis. My brushing was commendable, and I could have the most beautiful pearls in the world, but what does it benefit me if the frailty of my gums lose them? Then my dentist, claiming not to be a man of numbers, further demised my ability in caring for my mouth when he informed me that I have at least 14 small cavities between my teeth.
I have to take care of my mouth everyday. Duh. It sounds easy and trivial, but this is something I suck at. It’s not too different from America and her citizens’ health.
I never get any praise when I floss in the morning and use my anticavity paste at night. You won’t get any praise for avoiding McDonald’s angus third pounders or Taco Bell’s new $2 deal. ((The new Taco Bell deal is absolutely absurd. How are you going to start selling Doritos at a TexMex?)) Maybe it’s not entirely getting praise, but then it’s entirely not seeing immediate results. American desires dictate immediate profit. So I missed a night flossing — I’m not dying, so it’s alright; I’ll pick up tomorrow. So you slipped and ordered the number 3 from McDonald’s — you didn’t die after the meal, so it’s alright; you won’t order it next time.
Taking care of my teeth means not seeing immediate progress. Taking care of your health means not seeing immediate progress. Progress isn’t always immediate, and if we continue to expect progress to be immediate — even in the slightest — we will remain stagnant, and perhaps even begin to digress.