So, what can you do to live with the bad stuff and get away with your teeth?


Can you remember 'capillary attraction'? It's what you were being taught about in Science class at school- a bit boring until you translated it in your mind into being in small secluded spaces with attractive partners with little traffic and a lot of concentration.

The bits of the teeth where they lie next to each other share this feature. Wet your hands, then shake the excess water off them. Now, touch forefinger (index or first finger) to thumb and just dip them in and out of water. You will see a small amount of water 'clinging' around the contact point. That's held there by 'capillary attraction'.

Make 'fists' in your hands, if you can, with the thumb-nails facing you, then, turning the fists with the thumbs away from each other, just touch the two outer sides of the fists together. The point of the contact of the two fists is where that capillary attraction would draw in liquid. When the fists are squeezed tighter together, the amount of close contact increases - the greater the amount of close contact, the larger the amount of liquid attracted at the this point.

With the teeth in the mouth, the same attraction happens where each tooth meets that next in line.

So sugar solution, which can become very concentrated, or sugar dissolved in other liquids, or mixed with saliva by breaking up sugared foods during chewing is drawn into that contact area between the teeth. The more concentrated the liquids are, the more they are attracted - and the harder they are to remove. 

Try removing the water from between finger and thumb without separating them - hard, isn't it? The bacteria are in the solution too, so the sugar is quickly broken down into acid which goes to work dissolving the teeth - sideways - into the tooth on either side.

So, if you want to have the sugar, you must get rid of it from the mouth immediately.

Now. how do you get it out of there? Not easy. Try the finger and thumb routine again but this time with a sweet-tasting solution. Press then a little harder together to imitate the big back teeth and then, with the fingers still together, rinse them in water for ten seconds or so. Shake off the excess water, then taste. It's less but still there. Your mouth would be no different.

A fat lot of good it would be to rush off to clean your teeth either - brushing won't work - the bristles can't get in there (try the thumb/finger thing again) and in any case it's naf except in goody, goody circles.

So you must use an equally-concentrated alkali - there are some alkaline chewing gums (not sugar-free because the saliva encouraged just isn't strong enough). And as you can see above, water won't work at all - it's even weaker than saliva.

Milk works.

But FFJ followed by milk? UGH! I can taste it without trying it!

Of course your world's not at an end

of course you can still have your favourite sweet snack bars, FFJs, sugary drinks and fizzies, your sticky buns - the bakers round here make a pastry made with 50% fat and 50% sugar - probably for the figure-conscious (sorry - Scottish humour again!) - its finishing coating of liquid sugar follows you around wherever you go afterwards: in your mouth, on your clothes and fingers. It has a really sophisticated title too - a yum-yum - really wonderful when you've just had an exhausting morning and it's just a wee break from the 'strict' diet. Then milk!!!

If you have the sugared stuff at the beginning of a meal or at least well before the end of a longer one, much of the sugar is washed straight down. You have to be sure that the later foods is the meal are not sugar-containing and not acidic and of sufficient quantity to push all that before it through. Don't leave the sugary stuff hanging around in your mouth - get it down your neck!

You just have to think your way through what and how you eat and drink. Be careful of the unthinking pitfalls.

For example, say you've selected good healthy well-prepared food to eat, with a glass of water to drink. Then you pour on your favourite ketchup and what have you got? All the good food covered in an acid / sugar base of the worst possible kind! Teeth just don't survive this for long. A little sauce (5ml max.) and you'll be fine (the rest of the food and the salivary buffers will wash it all through.)

But I've often seen people put ketchup on everything, meat, vegetables, potatoes, pasta, rice, salads saying "the food's got no taste to it without the sauce."

The teeth just can't cope with this.

And there you have it. You can eat and drink through the maze.

I can't be bothered. I've seen too many cases of toothless people with a bag of dentures, none of which they can wear to their satisfaction, looking to me for salvation.

And I've got to tell them that their gums have shrunken so flat, that there's no place for a denture to sit.

It's either put up with uncomfortable lumps of plastic dentures, which often have to come out as soon as you get home to give your mouth some peace.

And there's really scary things too. Food can stick to them. But because they are not part of you, you sometimes don't know it. Everybody else around you does - they see the big lump of food smeared over the top front teeth - but are too embarrassed to say. They just look away, trying to avoid looking at you. Not much fun for you at all

Of course there's implants. Implants are wonderful. But it's if your mouth is suitable, if you can clean, clean, clean them so well, and be careful what you drink and eat; cut out the sugaries; and of course, smoking is out; and only if you've got 20 - 30K for the job. Much like having an expensive form of those natural teeth you had in the first place!!!!!

So I just think what I do suits me best - enjoy the most wonderful range of

culinary delights from all corners of the world. But sometimes I say NO to an offer.

They are my teeth, and I want to keep them.

Why does it matter if I've lost one or two back teeth which cannot be seen

from the front? I've got lots of other teeth and I have no difficulty eating anything!

 There are lots of reasons but please take some time to browse through the photographs of the different castles in the following list. Consider the length of time since they were first built, the amount of damage they have suffered and the degree to which they have been restored.The castles chosen are not intended to be a complete list of Scotland's castles - only those ones that you might identify to repre- sent a mouth of teeth which has had a lot of care over the years compared to noe which hasn't.

Sometimes, earlier damage was as a result of wars or alterations. But most damage has been caused by lack of proper maintenance to the smaller bits or the first bits that were damaged and not repaired. Some of these Scottish castles have decayed, just like human tooth decay. Some have been restored.

A comparison between the fate of these castles to the fate of the human mouth if left to fall apart through decay of neglect or to be protected against decay by proper care gives a real insight into the benefits of looking after your teeth.

Why not visit one or two now, download their images, see if you can identify healthy-

looking castles with ones that look 'past their best' - and some in between! Then think

what your mouth could look like if you don't look after it.

Balgonie Castle, Fife - privately owned
Bothwell Castle, Lanarkshire - overlooks the river Clyde
Broughty Castle - now a museum of whaling, fishing, arms and armour
Burleigh Castle, Fife
Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries - captured by King Edward I
Carnasserie Castle, Argyll - built by a Bishop of the Isles
Castle Campbell - used to be called Castle Gloom
Castle Menzies - Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed in the castle in 1746
Castle Stalker, Argyll - set on a small island
Crichton Castle, Lothians - unusual stonework inside
Culzean Castle, Ayrshire - overlooking the sea
Dirleton Castle, Lothians - amid a flower garden
Doune Castle, Stirlingshire
Drummond Castle, Perthshire - magnificent gardens
Dunstaffnage Castle, Argyll - built by the MacDougalls
Edinburgh Castle, a stunning castle on an ice-age rock
Eilean Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh - magical
Elcho Castle, Perthshire - overlooks the river silver Tay Glamis Castle,
Huntingtower Castle, Perthshire
Loch Leven Castle, Fife - on an island on Loch Leven
MacDuff's Castle, Fife - overlooks the sea
Smailholm Tower, Borders - in isolated moorland
Threave Castle, Dumfries - on an island in the river

Arbroath Abbey, Arbroath - more than 700years old


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