Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Space (01/23/06)
TITLE: In Pursuit of Minty Freshness
By Brenda Kern
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You can get all kinds of gunk stuck in there, and that gunk can be really destructive.
The gunk can lead to pain, and decay, and regret that you didn't get the gunk out much earlier.
Making it worse, the space between your teeth is exposed to a lot of stuff, isn't it? It's easy to just keep right on chewing and swallowing, never realizing that something has gotten lodged next to those tender pink gums.
And it's amazing how small those "somethings" can be, given how much irritation they cause, and how much damage can be done before the floss finally comes along and gets the problem-causing agent out of there.
Even when the irritant is gone, though, the harm can be quite extensive, and time is required before the area is truly healed of the injury and doesn't hurt anymore.
Sometimes the worst decay is not caused by a specific something-or-other that got stuck in there, but rather by a constant influx of unhealthy, or even corrosive, elements. These elements may seem innocent at first, or can be rationalized away with the idea that "I believe I'll try it, just this once," but beware.
Those elements are hard to see.
They will spread out.
They will invade every tiny space.
They solidify, then thicken.
They become entrenched, much more deeply than you ever imagined they would, and then they begin their work.
They consume the healthy, the seemingly solid and impenetrable, wreaking their havoc a moment at a time.
And they do all this so steadily, so silently, so insidiously.
Eventually, the nearby tooth can become so compromised that the dentist must use tools and do some unpleasant work on the tooth to save it, so it can be restored to health and stability again, and be useful for its intended purpose.
The grief of drilling can be avoided, perhaps, with a little attention given to the space between the teeth. The mouth's owner can ponder some pertinent questions: what's being consumed, anyway? And what traction is it gaining? How long has it been since any time and effort has been given to brushing, and rinsing? Have I been following the guidance of my dentist in the handbook he provided?
Maybe it's time for a good flossing.
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