Like many women, I have a tough time identifying things that I like about the way I look. It’s way easier to talk about the things I don’t like. BUT— if you were to really press me on the topic, I can name a few things.
1) I have beautiful nail beds. It’s actually become a running joke in my office because I will brag about them unabashedly. They are perfectly oval and set far down in my fingers so that even when my nails are at their shortest, they still look long and elegant.
2) I have skinny legs. Not necessarily from the knee up, but from the knee down. When I wear tights to cover my winter skin flakes, my legs look very nice in a skirt.
3) I have a good smile. That’s something I have been repeatedly told for the past twenty years. I like my smile so much, you will never ever see a photo without me smiling. Go ahead— try and find one. Whenever I am not smiling in a photo, I look weirdly serious. When I try to do the Tyra Banks “smizing” thing? I look like a crazy person. My face is 100X more photogenic with a smile.
My smile didn’t come easy though. I had braces when I was in junior high school, a little later than most people because my grown-up teeth came in late. Then I had to get braces again in high school because I had an alignment problem with my jaw. They ended up having to break it, reset it, and wire it shut for six weeks the summer before my senior year. That was the worst summer ever. When I entered senior year, I had ceramic braces and got them off about a month after they took our senior photos. My high school yearbook photo has my full mouth of braces grinning for all to see. (I wish I could show you the photo but it’s at my mother’s house and she’s currently out of the country.)
When I was finally done with all the orthodonture, I loved my smile. My teeth were really white, thanks to a life without soda I think, super straight and my smile brightened up my whole face. It instantly became my favorite feature. My orthodontist put permanent retainers on the backs of my top and bottom teeth to make sure it stayed that way.
Then, years later, when I became pregnant with Mazzy, I noticed something weird about my smile in a photo. One of my two front teeth was suddenly higher up in my gums than the rest of my mouth and tilted. It also looked discolored or like the weird angle of the tooth was picking up different light than the rest of my mouth when I smiled. When did that happen???
After a few months of closed-mouth smiles in photos to try to hide it, I decided to go back to my childhood orthodontist to have him take a look. He said that somehow the front tooth had become detached from the retainer, which caused the other teeth to get tighter around it and push it up and out. He told me he could fix it free of charge but I’d need to get braces again. This was at the age of 34. I told him I wanted to fix it ASAP and he put on the braces that day. I’ll never forget Mike’s face when I walked back in the apartment.
The tooth moved back into place pretty quickly and after two months, the braces came off and I had my smile back. I was thrilled.
All this is to say that my smile means something to me. But in recent years, for whatever reason, I’ve been taking it for granted and not taking the best care of it. For one thing, I’m not great about going to the dentist. I don’t know if my teeth are super sensitive or if I’m just a wuss, but check-ups and cleanings are my least favorite thing to do. Two years ago, my longtime dentist retired and a new guy took his place. Not only did I not like the new guy, he didn’t send the cleaning reminders or check-in phone calls that I was used to getting from my old dentist to schedule a new appointment.
I’m embarrassed to say, in the absence of those reminders, I stopped going.
Then, in December, at a pediatric dental appointment for Mazzy and Harlow, I noticed that they had an upstairs office for adults too. I made an appointment for myself. I had my appointment yesterday and I have to say, I was really scared they were going to tell me something horrible as the hygienist checked my teeth and gums. It was actually the gums that scared me the most because she kept poking them until they bed and shouting corresponding numbers to another guy to jot down. I heard the word receding a few too many times and asked, “Is it bad????”
She said, considering I haven’t had a cleaning in awhile, I did pretty good. She asked me if I’ve been flossing.
The truth is, I do not usually floss. BUT, since I had taken the kids to the dentist back in December and got a lecture about how important it was for them to do, we have started nightly family flossing all together. That’s one month of flossing and I believe that had a lot to do with my positive results. I also just started using a new toothpaste from Crest called Gum Detoxify which is formulated to reach below the gum line, neutralize harmful bacteria and significantly improve gum health.
Even though the dentist was impressed with the job I was doing on my own, she told me that I’m not allowed to skip a cleaning again. I agreed that tooth and gum health would be a top priority for me going forward. In fact, one of my New Year’s Resolutions with the kids is to take better care of our smiles, not just the teeth but also #ForGumsSake— with flossing, better brushing, Crest Gum Detoxify toothpaste for myself and yes, more regular dental appointments. I’m already going back in three months for a flouride rinse.
Besides the fact that I really like my smile and want to protect it, I think my parents would be seriously pissed if they wasted all that money on mouth!
This post is sponsored by Crest Gum Detoxify but the trials and tribulations of my smile are all my own.