Three years. I hadn’t been to the dentist in three years. Turns out, they won’t let you go when you’re pregnant; and, I’ve spent a lot of time either pregnant or in a postpartum haze.
Normally, I would be pretty excited about the prospects of professional teeth cleaning; I just love that slippery clean tooth feeling. And, toot-toot, I have phenomenal dental hygiene so I’ve never had any reason for dental anxiety. But, it had been so long I was having some serious self-doubts about this trip. After three long years, the time had come and I found myself in the hot seat.
Apparently, dentist offices have become super ritzy, because I got a lovely paraffin wax hand dip while I waited. That was great, except, I couldn’t read my book or play on my phone with the wax on my hands. So, I looked around the room and was pleased to see photos of adorable kids on the office wall. I figured, if my dentist had kids, he might be more understanding of my absence.
There I was, looking up at the facemask of my new dentist (which, let’s be honest is a gift for us both. It keeps my spit out of his face and his nose hairs out of mine.) and readying myself to give my excuses. Cue the word vomit. I started with the big one- “listen, I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding or both since September of 2012. I’m sure I’m osteopenic from the calcium leeching, so I might have some issues with my teeth. Also, I’ve been exhausted and I’ll admit I don’t floss nearly as much as I used to. And, as you know, I was due here like 2.5 years ago. Soooo….”
And, you know what, he did completely understand. Apparently, a lot of his mom patients can point to each cap in their mouths and tell him which pregnancy caused it. He disagreed with my calcium leeching vampire fetuses and nurslings theory, though. In his professional opinion, it all comes down to self-care. Or lack thereof. That means that in putting ourselves last, like we always do, we are literally destroying ourselves.
I know it’s hard. It’s hard when a five-minute shower can feel like a trip to the spa. When shaving your legs is a special occasion. But, damnit, brushing and flossing isn’t a treat. It’s not a privilege. It’s a right, a necessity. Like eating or drinking. Treat it that way.
We could all stand to be a little more selfish, to treat yourself like you’d treat your family. But in this case, I’m not advocating for anything special. I’m not saying, paint your nails, you deserve it. I’m saying brush your teeth. Brush your damn teeth.