Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Wake Up Call

In case you ended up too peaceful for words after yesterday, I thought I'd make you all sit up by harping back to the wonderful subject of dentists. There! I thought that might catch your attention.

Why on earth in this modern day society, when anaesthesia makes dentistry a virtually painless process, do so many people quake in their shoes at the very thought of a check up, let alone any other of the procedures that lie in wait for unhealthy teeth? Our ancestors were made of much sterner stuff. Just think back to the days when bad teeth were publicly pulled to amuse the crowd at country fairs! Or back a few more millennia, when cave men put up or shut up if a molar proved problematical. I suppose then, it was more likely to be a broken tooth causing pain, rather than decay. A diet of dinosaur steak would hardly cause caries.

Anyhow, I don't mean this post to be all doom and gloom for the fraidy cats amongst you. I thought I would let them enjoy the subject as viewed from the perspective of the wonderful Pam Ayres, whose plaintive poem 'Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth' has long delighted her English audiences, but may not have filtered to other corners of the globe. (What a stupid phrase that is - how can a globe have a corner? But as Granny on the Web recently pointed out, the English language is barmy, anyway.)

So with no more ado, here is Pam Ayres' wonderful monologue for your delectation.

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth,
And spotted the perils beneath,
All the toffees I chewed,
And the sweet sticky food,
Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth.

I wish I'd been that much more willin'
When I had more tooth there than fillin'
To pass up gobstoppers,
From respect to me choppers
And to buy something else with me shillin'.

When I think of the lollies I licked,
And the liquorice allsorts I picked,
Sherbet dabs, big and little,
All that hard peanut brittle,
My conscience gets horribly pricked.

My Mother, she told me no end,
"If you got a tooth, you got a friend"
I was young then, and careless,
My toothbrush was hairless,
I never had much time to spend.

Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,
I flashed it about late at night,
But up-and-down brushin'
And pokin' and fussin'
Didn't seem worth the time... I could bite!

If I'd known I was paving the way,
To cavities, caps and decay,
The murder of fiIlin's
Injections and drillin's
I'd have thrown all me sherbet away.

So I lay in the old dentist's chair,
And I gaze up his nose in despair,
And his drill it do whine,
In these molars of mine,
"Two amalgam," he'll say, "for in there."

How I laughed at my Mother's false teeth,
As they foamed in the waters beneath,
But now comes the reckonin'
It's me they are beckonin'
Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth.


  1. Lol!!!! I remember seeing Pam Ayres and this poem on television . . how we loved that woman and how she made us laugh until the tears rolled! I'm always saying how I wished I'd looked after my teeth better . . . bought back such memories . . . . . love that poem!!

  2. delightful poetry! cute, witty, charming and fun....guess dentists make it easy these days as we can still enjoy those simple pleasures with a quick remedy at the dentist! :)

  3. I love Pam Ayres. She was on radio 2 recently reciting a poem about weddings - think you'd like that too.

  4. Love the poem. I think some of us dread dentists because we don't visit them as often as our primary care physicians. And the come at us with strange equipment, instead of stethascopes and blood pressure cuffs.

  5. Hello Jinksy,

    Great poem! Pam Eyers is a 'good un'. It's just the idea, the potential for pain to be lurking, that seem's to bother some folks! Much better to have a laugh instead.

  6. Well, I'm not afraid of the dentist. We have a wonderful one. We travel 250 miles each way to see him. We have some in our town, but we just don't like them. Our guy is every bit as expensive an anyone else, but he does all the work when we are there, rather than making us come back.

    My biggest complaint with the dental profession is that that don't take the insurances. We are on Medicare, and Medicare doesn't cover it. I asked our dentist the last time we were there to find out why. He told me that the health profession doesn't think dental care is important. It is no wonder we see so many toothless old people in the nursing homes. Oh well, I guess it with the healthcare that is in the works now it won't be a problem. Just drink the Kool-aid!

  7. *LAUGHING!* My maw maw used to tell me "always take care of your teeth!" she had all her teeth up until she died at 70something - ironically, her cancer spread to oral cancer.

    I thought about "the olden days" as I lay in the ER and told it was an angry appendix - I thought, oh dear, back in the olden days or yore, the thing would be undetected and then burst and then I'd be a goner.....huhn!

  8. Linda's right. Dental is a separate thing over here. Broken teeth have I and can't afford the fixes, so I'll just play cave-man and bear the pain...

    Wonderful little poem! Ta much for the intro duction, Jinksy :)

  9. family anecdote says that my grandfather had a bad tooth and couldn't face going to the dentist - so he tied thread round the tooth and tied the other end to a cobbler's hobbing iron and dropped it onto the floor - unfortunately it landed on - and broke - his big toe!
    Give me dentists any day (even if they do charge huge prices!)

  10. Jinksy, your blog tells me that I am blocked from joining as a follower. That does sort of hurt my feelings.

  11. Jinksy

    It's the extraction of money from my wallet that pains me most. Talk about a second mortgage!

  12. Oh dear, I've spotted the first poor soul who isn't allowed to follow you anymore and is peacefully protesting against that. On that subject, my list of followers had disappeared completely??!!??

    I love the poem. Please unblock Mr. Coltin. He seems like a nice guy ;-)

  13. Oh, deary me, Mr Coltin! I've been trying to reinstate you all afternoon, but Blogger has disappeared ALL my followers! As soon as it gives them back, I promise to add you at once!My most humble apologies, kind sir!

  14. GREAT poem!!...and I laughed and laughed at the 'gaze up his nose' line...
    You are just soooo good, jinksy.
    A dentist has NEVER hurt, I've never been afraid of going to one. I'm not one bit nervous, and don't give it a second thought when I go. It is just like going to get my hair done to me....and I sincerely mean that. I guess it's the experiences that one has had with one's dentist that causes the reactions....whether good or bad.

  15. I feel so dumb as I had not heard of your lovely poet and she seems so well loved by those who read her work or seen her. I loved this poem jinsky, thank you for thinking of your international friends.
    All my followers have disappeared as well, blogger must be having problems again and again and again........:-) Hugs

  16. Well Jinksy, they couldn't keep us apart forever. I'm back and I'm never leaving again. Carolina will never let it happen.

  17. Carolina's the greatest, I grant you, Mr BC!

  18. Amen. And you know I mean that.

  19. Love that!!!! It's a terrific poem!!! Gave me a really big chuckle!!!! Thanks Jinksy!!! ~Janine XO

  20. LOL! I HATE the dentist. I put on my "brave" face, but my insides are jelly the whole time! Dentists ruined my life (with a little help from a baseball bat).

  21. I love Pam Ayres, too! Very down to earth, and funny, too!

    I can tell you why I fear the dentist (and I have to go next week for my check up). I fear the dentist because I've had mouth cancer and I am constantly afraid he'll take a look and say 'Houston, we have a problem!' He does actually talk like that. I constantly hear stuff from him like 'We have the technology, we can fix you!' He's lovely, actually, bless him.

    Anyway, I never have been able to bear the numbness after a filling, either. It makes me feel panicky and uncomfortable. And painless? puh-lease!! That needle going halfway into my brain is far from painless!

    There. All clear now?

    Oh good.


  22. LOL, great poem. Says it all, even if it's a little too late for some of us. LOL

    I never had good teeth, as soon as a second tooth would come in, the dentist seemed to find a cavity. I use to hate sitting in that chair, would break out in a sweat. I told this one dentist, an old retired army doctor, I would rather have a baby then come see him and he said, that might be, but with me, you have pain for a few hours, with a baby you have at least 18 yrs.

    Finally when I was in my late 40's, I had the last nine teeth above pulled and two below that were in bad shape. Got a full upper plate and now have a partial below. Believe it or not, I have a total of 24 teeth. Dentist said I did not have room in my mouth for the plate to have 14 teeth on it. I still have eight of my own teeth below, and a partial with two on each side. Sometimes I remove my teeth when I'm eating something soft, I think I can taste it better. Of course I remove them in private. LOL

    My husband never had his first cavity until he was 22.

  23. Thanks for sharing that with us.
    I no longer have any teeth but I enjoyed it.

  24. Brilliant!! And yeah, what's with the fear??!

  25. We do think back to cruder (and dare I say more ignorant) days, and even to days of drunken dentists, and that is why the knowledge of the wonders of modern anaesthesia has no calming or soporific effect whatever. Me, I'd rather have a bit of pain and be fully aware of what's going on!

  26. This is a reminder that I got a loose tooth but so far it doesn't hurt.

  27. Oh, just so you know - you'll get yours when I do Brinkbeest's meme. Nobody gets away without a whipping when they're involved. And don't play any of that, "Who? Moi?" on me, lady.


  28. Thanks Jinksy for sharing Pam's poem. I'd never heard of it before. It tickled my funny bone (wherever that is!).
    Sad to say, my trips to the dentist were hardly pleasant. Ahh well, that's another story.... Shirley

  29. I was lucky to be able to attend one of her shows here in New Zealand and listen to her as she read this poem. We were also lucky as we got to meet her afterwards.

  30. Teeth, like the rest of my old body, seem to need more attention now than ever before. Between doctors and dentists and labs, my life is measured by all these appointments. Nobody told us.


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