Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Tooth About Toddlers

Yay! We’re going to the Densis!

Toddler’s words - definitely not mine.

Ah, the innocence of children. Not only does our two year old actively look forward to having her teeth inspected but she’ll eat wholesome vegetables if we promise pudding and she believes she might get stuck on the moon if she goes too high on the swings.

I’m always shocked by the statistics that are spat out relating to Scotland’s poor dental health. We seem to have a nation of tiny versions of Mark E Smith.

Our Toddler has been brushing - and, significantly, enjoying brushing - her teeth since they appeared. We give her a helping hand and make sure it’s part of morning and evening routine.

I grew up mildly terrified that I’d end up like my mum or dad, both of whom have false teeth. Their dentures weren’t due to old age - they got them when they were younger than me.

My main teeth-related recollections from childhood are:

In Primary 4 being made to swish blue liquid round my mouth and spit it out so the whole class could compare plaque coverage. Charming. Around the same time the importance of strong clean teeth was being impressed upon us the free school milk was stopped. (Please note the Milk Snatcher wasn’t Thatcher. The policy was devised by Heath’s first chancellor, Iain Macleod, an islander from Lewis. He was also health minister, famously chain smoking his way through a press conference detailing the link between cigarettes and lung cancer. Tories. Don‘t you just love them?)

While at military secondary school in Germany we had to visit the army dentist. He had a reputation as a butcher. I only spent a few minutes in his chair but it did indeed feel like my mouth was being used to sharpen a set of steak knives rather than a gentle examination with a mirror on a stick. Ow, ow and ow.

The Tooth Fairy. In my day it was a twenty pence piece. What did my mum do with all my old teeth? Actually, I don’t want to know. These days kids probably have an App on their smart phone. Simply take a photo of the loose tooth and your parent’s bank account will be nudged into donating a fiver.

On a slightly connected note I had to take a photograph of some happy Swedes the other day. (People from Sweden rather than a bunch of neeps, you understand. I take my allotment seriously but not that seriously.) To make them smile I automatically suggested they all say Cheese. But this was met with confused looks. Ok, how do you say cheese in Swedish. Whatever it was it made an even worse set of facial expressions. So I asked what foodstuff we could say that bring out big smiles. Their response? Herring!

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