Dorothy Wordsworth (William’s sister, the guy who wrote about Daffodils) had wooden teeth. Think of the noise she must have made when she was eating. By the age of thirty what was left of her pearly whites (or not so white probably) were drawn (without anaesthetic) and the new timber teeth put in (did she need a toothpick?).
At that time she did not have the technology we have today, electric toothbrushes and chemically advanced toothpaste. Yet there are people today with all the help of modern dentistry can offer who let their mouths go to rot.
Morning and night
When you are child it is instilled in you to clean your teeth morning and night. Kids are scared by the image you give them of all their teeth falling out if they don’t. So they avidly brush away until their teeth do fall out only to be replaced by another set.
However, once the habit has been ingrained most people carry on looking after their teeth. Although it has to be said we don’t have the greatest mouths in the UK, especially when you compare them to the sparkle that our American cousins have.
Fear motivates us to brush avidly if only to avoid that look the dentist gives you over their mask as they look in to it. Also we are scared of the cost that an expensive dental treatment will incur. Even on the NHS a serious procedure can cost hundreds of pounds.
You may look at Shane Macgowan of the Pogues and think that he has bad teeth. And he does have bad teeth. As the colloquial phrase goes they are, “like an allotment fence.” But his teeth are fantastic compared to some people.
There are pictures on the Internet that will give you nightmares. There are murky molars and degraded dentures that will make your hair stand on end. It is unbelievable that people could let their mouths get in to such a state.
You would think that a quick glance in the bathroom mirror and they would want to get them sorted out. Although in a recent survey it was revealed that over a third of men think that a visit to the dentist is a luxury.
Fear of the dentist is common and if you have had a bad experience as a child it can be traumatic to sit in the dentist’s chair again. However, it should be done for the good of your health as well as your smile.
An adult dental health survey in 2009 found that one in ten people in Wales had no natural teeth, in England the figure is one in seventeen.
Frighteningly, tooth decay is the third most common reason for children to be admitted to hospital with close on 40,000 admitted every year.
While overall our dental health has progressed over the years Dorothy Wordsworth might not look too out of place today.