How Toothbrushing got me Digging Deeper...

Updated: Feb 6, 2020

Before you think I’m going to tell you how to brush your teeth and how important it is to look after them, help me answer a couple of questions. How many people you know, don’t brush their teeth? And how do you feel about the fact that there are people amongst us, walking around having not brushed their teeth, in months...

I’m a recently qualified tooth carpenter, and since I began my working life, I’ve learnt many new things. They say you learn something new every day, yet it still came to me as a surprise when a patient of mine told me he had not brushed his teeth in nearly six months. At that moment, I was lost for words, but as I asked him why not, he simply said there is no point, my parents and grandparents have always had bad teeth. On his own, he had reasoned and concluded it was all down to his genetic make-up.

It’s the lack of education that’s the concern here; NOT the individual. Groups of people with limited access to essential information, for whatever reason, are left out or have secluded themselves from access to it; thus, suffer consequences they never knew existed.

They simply lack access or have some degree of difficulty in understanding basic details. Information we never took a moment to question; for us, it was nothing less than a daily routine.

It really got me thinking about the huge variation in everyone’s understanding of everything and each person’s acceptance/openness to learning. I thought about how decisions and stances are massively based on what is assumed to be correct information.

Let me put it simply, picture an exhausted, hungry, homeless man in damp clothing (no gender discrimination intended) making way to a shelter. You stop them and ask if they are okay, where he is heading and if he had eaten, only for them to tell you their situation. You may happen to know/walk past a shelter around the corner where they can much sooner have a shower, change out into fresh clothes and eat a warm plate of food. Until that moment you told them about this shelter around the corner, they were going to continue on a much longer trip, facing multiple struggles along the way, abuse, violence, weather, hunger, as most homeless do today...

Information. The instant you decided to talk to this person, an opportunity opened up to pass on information, only to benefit this individual and none else. Until you had enlightened them with this, they knew only to travel much further and unaware that a much better alternative was available to them. We cannot blame the homeless man for travelling further and not knowing a much closer shelter was available for them.

Regardless of the shock when I heard the gentleman tell me he hadn’t brushed his teeth in months, I didn’t make a judgement on his background, his life, his way of living or him; it didn’t feel right. I got to understand the extent of the help he needed and may need in many other aspects of his life. I simply passed on the information I had in a way he would understand, and I honestly cannot wait for him to return to surgery so I can see how he has adopted something new to him and something that will, more importantly, lead to an improvement in his life/lifestyle.

I hope everyone starts to share; share anything, share everything, and we never know how together we may benefit from each other, learning something new. We should all speak out more, having meaningful, factual, personal, professional conversations and more.

I am thankful for the opportunity Cinnamon Bay gave me to speak out about this topic and hope it was also an enlightening read for you. I look forward to reading many more blogs and experiences from you all. Peace out.