I try not to look at my teeth too much in mirrors, but I know they’re more metal than teeth. I have a lot of cavities. Growing up I always had at least two new ones at every dentist visit. I have bad teeth.
“They’re not bad, they’re just soft.” my dentist would tell me.
“They’re not soft, they’re round.” theorized a new dentist we switched to when our health insurance changed. He had no Magic Eye books in his waiting room and was the worst.
“They’re porous teeth.”
“They’re wide, food-sized.”
“They’re sticky, plaque just clings to them.”
My dentist in college said the problem was my mouth was too small.
Dentists have been saying a lot of things to me about cavities for a long time, and I got used to it. Until I moved to Portland. All my Portland dentist ever says is “Looks great, no cavities.” It's muffled, because he doesn’t ever take off that dentist mask. He also doesn’t ever say hello or goodbye, or really do anything with that little metal scratcher besides waving it a few inches above my mouth and squinting before declaring me cavity-free. Obviously, something has changed.
Let me make this clear: the thing that has changed is not my brushing habits. Any self-respecting person with teeth would be nervous about my brushing habits. I brush twice a day, but it’s usually about ten seconds of brushing followed by a gradual disintegration into ten minutes of me sucking on my toothbrush absentmindedly while I text or make myself an omelet.
If I have impeccable dental hygiene it means someone is breaking into my apartment at night and brushing my teeth for me.
I haven’t contacted the Mars factory in Hackettstown, New Jersey, but unless they’re putting considerably smaller amounts of sugar in M&Ms in the last few years, I’m not eating any less sugar.
And I definitely can't attribute my dental health to fluoride in Portland water. We are 100% fluoride-free.
So I’m adding this cavity question to a long list of questions I can ask my landlord or a rabbi or a bus driver or Oprah or God. For now I’m just going to assume that I’m the luckiest and keep sucking on the free toothbrushes my dentist gives me. And if you’re ever looking for a dentist I recommend Portland dentists, because they prevent all cavities and you will be happy and lucky and smiling forever.