Teeth And Gums And Music

“Yo, schmuck! Are you kidding me? You haven’t published a story in quite a while and the best idea that you can come up with now is a piece about dental health? Neil, you test my patience like no other of my writers. If you weren’t overpaying me for attending to your flimsy articles, I’d bounce you from my client list and send you into the deepest reaches of cyberspace, from which you’d never be heard from again!”

Those were the words that my editor, Edgar Reewright, flung at me over the phone three days ago when I told him about the essay I was planning to compose. Shit, I didn’t exactly appreciate his uncivil response. But what could I do? Fire him? No way. I mean, without his expert eye and guidance, my flimsy articles would be even worse: conceptually flawed, grammatically messy, stiff and awkward, etc., etc.

I need Edgar.

You know what though? I’m not going to let him critique this piece. I’ll mail him his weekly check, sure. But if he’s not interested in reading about a topic as important as dental health, he can shove his unreasonableness up his ever-widening ass. That’ll teach him!

My dental implements.

Dental health. For at least six months I’ve been tossing around the notion of writing a story about it. But I couldn’t quite figure out what angle to take, what points to make. Anyway, late night on October 30 I began to see the journalistic light while brushing and flossing, which are parts of the nightly ritual that I maintain to try and keep periodontal disease (which can lead to tooth loss and possibly worse, such as heart disease) and cavities away.

And I received the kick in the butt that I needed to set the story in motion when, on November 6, I read a real good essay about canine dental health (click here) by Cristina Crawford, a fellow blogger. “Hey!” I said to myself. “It’s not coincidental that Cristina’s article came on the heels of the light you saw last week. Sure, she wrote about her dog’s dental situations. But so what? Dental health is dental health, no matter what species is involved. The time is now, fella! Write your story!”

Okay, I shall.

My dental history was unremarkable until the mid-1990s. I’d been to various dentists somewhat regularly over the previous 40+ years and had had numerous cavities filled, but nobody ever had raised anything resembling a red flag. Circa 1995 though, my dentist-at-the-time (she is still my dentist) did. What she told me, basically, was that my gums and teeth were infected to an extent that she was unable to treat, that the gums had regressed significantly, that I’d had bone loss in the middle and lower sections of my teeth, and that I therefore needed the services — pronto! — of a periodontist. My conditions, I surmised, were the results of poor dental hygiene, because for many years I’d definitely not been the poster boy for proper oral care.

To a periodontist I went, and what resulted wasn’t a pretty scene. Osseous surgery sessions — scraping away of infected bone and gum tissue areas, and repositioning of my gums on tooth surfaces — took place over a number of months. The procedures hurt, and they made my mouth look like a bloody, sloppy mess. But everything in time healed. And the procedures worked, putting a halt to periodontal disease, which is fueled by bacterial buildups. Ever since then I’ve very diligently done my best to keep my gums and teeth clean: Brushing after meals with a regular toothbrush; inserting a small brush (a Proxabrush) between the teeth to push out food particles; flossing; and rinsing with mouthwash. I do all of this, in various permutations, several times each day.

There’s nothing unusual about my regimen. Pretty much everyone reading this article, I imagine, is more or less taking the same measures. In any case, I’ve been fortunate, because periodontal disease, knock on wood, has not returned.

So, how does the late night of October 30 figure into this story? Well, dental routines ain’t exactly emotionally or spiritually invigorating, right? To help while away the boredom as I work inside my mouth, I listen to music on an old portable radio.

I’m not the music geek that once I was, but a seeker of fine tunes I remain. In between brush strokes or floss movements I flip the radio’s dial, hoping to connect with one station or another’s offerings. Often I connect pleasantly, sometimes fabulously. On October 30 the latter took place, for three songs that I’m compelled to mention came at me during the first quarter of the eleven o’clock hour. As they played I couldn’t help but bust out my sad attempts at bopping and boogying, being careful of course not to trip and stab myself with my toothbrush as I shuffled around the bathroom.

In the order in which I heard them, the recordings were as follows: The Memphis Train, by Rufus Thomas. St. James Infirmary, by Cab Calloway and his orchestra. Pass The Gin, by The Meadowlarks. The tunes hit the market, respectively, in 1968, 1930 and 1954. Rufus and Cab were big stars in their lifetimes, I should note, and retain plenty of fame to this day. The Meadowlarks, though, were pretty obscure, and are beyond obscure in 2018. But little matter. Millions of top-notch recordings have faded away in music history’s scrapbook. I’m glad that Pass The Gin was resurrected while I had the radio on.

I totally dig The Memphis Train’s pounding drums, funky and kinky electric guitar, and Rufus’s wild whoops. Ditto for Cab’s dramatic singing in St. James Infirmary, and for the horn players who, with twinkles in their eyes, send out cascades of sashaying and strutting notes. As for Pass The Gin, how cool and tight are the vocals, and how nifty is the guitar solo halfway through the song? Very. Very. Very.

With that, the current proceedings are coming to a close. Sleep well tonight, readers. Treat your teeth and gums well, if you’re not already doing so. And, as Sly And The Family Stone advised, dance to the music!

(Don’t be shy about adding your comments. Gracias.)

101 thoughts on “Teeth And Gums And Music

  1. andrewcferguson November 12, 2018 / 2:08 am

    I say sack Edgar. He clearly doesn’t have a nose for a story. Or the teeth for it. Loving the Meadowlarks!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. cath November 12, 2018 / 4:47 am

    Yep, quite see how these would make you shuffle. Love ’em.

    Thanks for both the cautionary tale – I’ll definitely be putting in an extra few minutes scrub-time on them from now on – and for expanding my musical range. I particularly like Cab Calloway.

    Liked by 1 person

      • cath November 12, 2018 / 2:07 pm

        Of course, should have guessed. Love that song.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Arcane Nibbler November 20, 2018 / 8:06 am

        My grandma had the Minnie the Moocher record. Don’t know what happened to it. Will have to download the other and listen while I floss. Not a regular flosser, unfortunately. Need to work on that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. carpe diem Eire November 12, 2018 / 5:01 am

    My dad has some teeth issues in the 70s, he liked his candy and probably rarely brushed. He had a lot of decay, though not unmanageable. His genius of a dentist suggested he take out practicality all his teeth and replace them with dentures. He did and regretted it so much years later. My two cents on dental health.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Alyson November 12, 2018 / 5:05 am

    What a great idea – Listen whilst you brush ‘n’ floss. I only really found out about Cab Calloway after he popped up in films like The Blues Brothers and The Cotton Club but his material is now a firm favourite of mine.

    (By the way, I recently discovered that dancing to 6 songs wearing one of those Fitbit things, that counts steps, equates to a brisk 20 minute walk. Choose your most upbeat tracks and off you go – Exercise accomplished if a wet and windy day!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 12, 2018 / 1:32 pm

      Yeah, there’s a lot to be said for dancing in the house. In my case, doing it behind closed doors is the way to go, because I’m not exactly Fred Astaire!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Alyson November 12, 2018 / 2:30 pm

        Ha ha – But you don’t need to be Fred, just enjoy it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Gallivanta November 12, 2018 / 5:28 am

    Nothing like a little music to spice up the dental routine!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Gallivanta November 13, 2018 / 6:16 am

        Dull as…..but I will take dull and boring over toothache any day. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Cristina Crawford November 12, 2018 / 6:54 am

    Lovely read! This piece would have been over-the-top perfect if you would have included a video clip of you moving to the groove of Memphis Train across your bathroom floor whilst flossing! 🤪😜. I nearly fell off my chair over the reference. What an unexpected delight. Thank you sir!!!! ❤️ P.S. I definitely need to spice up my evening ritual; It’s usually cedar flute music or a peaceful piano Max Richter piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 12, 2018 / 1:36 pm

      Hey, flute music can be very good. I’ll have to check out Max Richter. I forget what his music is like.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sheree November 12, 2018 / 7:14 am

    Oral health is much more important than many people realise until it’s perhaps too late! Someone above mentioned “scrubbing,” it’s not necessary. Clean your teeth twice a day: before breakfast and before retiring for the night. Use a toothpaste containing the latest bioactive glass such as BioMin and you’ll keep sensitivity at bay, protect your gums, fight off acid erosion and stop early caries in its tracks. Check it out: https://www.biomin.co.uk/products/biomintm-f-toothpaste. We’re still working on our Spotify playlist!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Deb November 12, 2018 / 7:52 am

    As a retired dental/surgical assistant may I congratulate you Neil on overcoming your periodontal disease. I hope that your overall health, as well as your mouth, thank you for your efforts every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. joyce hamilton November 12, 2018 / 7:56 am

    I enjoyed the music and also had the same dental problems you had.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 12, 2018 / 1:40 pm

      Sounds like both you and I neglected our gums and teeth when we were younger. Periodontal disease is no fun.


    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 12, 2018 / 1:43 pm

      I pretty much stay away from candy and other very sugary things these days. I used to drink lots of soda, and I’m sure that it contributed to the problems I had with gums and teeth.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Almost Iowa November 12, 2018 / 9:05 am

    I’ll mail him his weekly check

    Mail? Check? Are those things really things? I seem to have a vague memory of something like them but it could be something I saw in a movie. Movie? Is that also a thing? I mean like before Netflix (as if there was a before Netflix).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 12, 2018 / 1:44 pm

      Hi. I know. The modern world evolves/changes really, really fast.


  11. Robert Parker November 12, 2018 / 9:50 am

    Well I listened to all 3 tunes, I’m awake now! I always look to see what you got to say, but wasn’t expecting a segue from dental care to The Memphis Train, that’s great! I love Cab Calloway, but those whoops from Rufus Thomas just did it for me today, rinse & spit, baby! WP had a daily theme of “toothbrush” a while ago, and I wrote about a visit a couple of years ago, to a trendy “post-lunch dental cafe” https://wordpress.com/post/waterlooseneca.com/4182

    Liked by 1 person

  12. JT Twissel November 12, 2018 / 1:23 pm

    Oh, my. Sorry about the dental problems. I have a friend who has to see a dentist twice a month…. I’m getting so old that fillings I got in my teens have to be replaced with crowns but I guess I can’t complain. Cool music, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Cindy November 12, 2018 / 5:45 pm

    Listening to peppy music does make chores (and I too consider flossing to be a necessary one) more bearable! I like your 3 choices, especially Pass the Gin. Did you know that the Meadowlarks also sang, as The Larks, the ’60s hit song Jerk? It’s another finger-snapper!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 12, 2018 / 6:14 pm

      You know more about that band than me! I’d never heard of them until the night I write about.
      I heard Pass The Gin on WRDV. You might like this station. Check out their website for more info. See you.


  14. viewfromoverthehill November 12, 2018 / 11:18 pm

    Periodontal disease can lead to heart attack and/or stroke. So take your mouth seriously — whether to music or not. Cheers. Muriel

    Liked by 1 person

  15. acomediansguidetoenlightenment November 13, 2018 / 3:09 am

    I’ve also had periodontal disease! I am now an avid flosser, which I’m ashamed to say wasn’t before, and things have cleared up for me as well. I also wear a night guard for my teeth because apparently some of my gum recession is from the intense presser of me clenching or grinding my teeth. Fascinating stuff, I know.

    I also very much appreciate the music. Love, love, LOVE St. James Infirmary especially. Thanks for that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2018 / 7:04 am

      Hi. Do you use a soft or, even better, an extra soft toothbrush? They are much less damaging to the gums than medium or hard. I’m full of dental tips! Enjoy the day. I’ll be seeing you —

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Cathy Cade November 13, 2018 / 6:18 am

    Bravely posted. I, too, suffer. Two of my roots are apparently gone, according to x-rays; the other teeth are holding them in, I think. A child with too little space for their teeth would today have a couple removed, but back when I was young they didn’t take out healthy teeth – they were likely to fall out soon enough.
    Before I retired and moved out of London the hygienist (an hour every three months) was working towards sending me for root canal treatment. I couldn’t see how a mouth that tended to infection-related disease would become healthier by exposing it to more opportunity for infection.

    After I retired and moved to the sticks, my new NHS dentist was fairly basic (once a year with a quick scrape at the check-up), which suited me fine, but when he was replaced by another probationer at the practice, she was horrified at the state of my gums and signed me up for three sessions of what the hygienist used to do.
    I’m a great believer in the body’s ability to heal itself, so I went along with this intensive (but not invasive) clean-up and looked online for advice. Since then, I’ve been oil-pulling every morning – ie. swishing coconut oil around my gums for 15-20 minutes (other oils are acceptable) . This is meant to pick up all kind of bacteria from your mouth. It was cheaper than root canal treatment and I thought at least it wouldn’t do any harm. (I have doubts about mouthwashes – the effective ones turn my teeth grey.)
    My dentist was very pleased with me last week – she couldn’t believe how much my ‘pockets’ had shrunk (I think she meant the holes in my gums rather than the state of my wallet). And I’ve still got those two rootless teeth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2018 / 1:16 pm

      Hi Cathy. You figured things out for yourself, with excellent results. I’ll have to do some reading about rinsing with oil. My dentist and periodontist and hygienists have mentioned all kinds of tips to me, but never mentioned that one.


      • Cathy Cade November 14, 2018 / 3:30 am

        It;s Ayurvedic medicine – which isn’t normally mu cup of whisky… but having looked for reviews i didn’t read any that counselled against it and – like I mentioned above – it can’t do any damage.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Lynette d'Arty-Cross November 13, 2018 / 7:21 am

    I am amazed at the array of toothpaste available – about a million kinds. It’s hard to find just ordinary toothpaste without it being special in some way – will kill bacteria in the food before you eat it! 😉
    But sorry to hear about your tooth troubles. I have to get a couple of crowns and I’m not looking forward to that, but it pales in comparison to what you endured!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2018 / 1:18 pm

      You know, I use plain, original Colgate, the same one that has been on the market forever. I don’t want a toothpaste that has all kinds of whiteners and other additives in it.
      See ya!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. greenpete58 November 13, 2018 / 8:08 am

    I like how you somehow managed to tie dental health with three YouTube songs. You’re the “Seinfeld” of the blogging world, Neil!

    I actually saw Cab Calloway perform, back in 1981. My brother and I were the youngest people in the audience. We saw him afterwards, at the hotel restaurant/bar, but I was too shy to talk to him. Wish I would’ve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2018 / 1:22 pm

      Yeah, you can imagine the amazing stories he’d have told you. He must have led a very adventurous life.


  19. Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter November 13, 2018 / 12:43 pm

    I have to send John to bed at least 30 minutes before me to deal with his dental routines! He has all sorts of gadgets. I have a toothbrush, and so far have better teeth 😉. Mind you, I don’t have as many because of orthodontic treatment in my youth. I inherited big teeth from one parent and a narrow jaw from the other, hence several extractions and many years of braces to move teeth around. I was a bit of a role model for with small, frightened children being brought in to see me being good in the chair. *Polishes halo*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2018 / 1:26 pm

      I think that genetics plays a big part in how healthy a person’s gums and teeth will be. You’re probably pretty resistant to the bacteria that in someone else would cause gum inflammation and periodontal disease. Anyway, keep on brushing!


  20. Julie Yates November 13, 2018 / 2:30 pm

    Oh my God! I’m going tomorrow to fix up my gums with tissue scraped from the top of my mouth. I am scared! But it sounds like you lived through it and I know I will too. And hopefully look better as an end result!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2018 / 3:34 pm

      We’re lucky that these kinds of techniques are available. They help a lot. Good luck tomorrow, Julie —


  21. Isabelle November 13, 2018 / 3:16 pm

    Dental health should always remain a priority, I’ve learned that lesson.

    Cab Calloway is great! Love the song. Have a good week Neil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2018 / 4:13 pm

      The song of Cab’s that I included in this article was recorded near the very start of his very long (about 60 years) professional career. Take care, Isabelle.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. sniderjerry November 13, 2018 / 7:39 pm

    The dentist said my teeth are all right but my gums have to come out. Go figure. All the best. Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

  23. tanjabrittonwriter November 13, 2018 / 7:57 pm

    Only you could create a narrative that arcs from dental health to meadowlarks, Neil. The only kind I know sing, too, but without accompaniment. I don’t think they floss, though. I still like them.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. johnlmalone November 13, 2018 / 8:34 pm

    You’re ready to write, I’d say. Short stories with a dental theme are rare and I.m an afficianado of the form. I can’t think of one. I posted a humorous piece on the topic some months back but can’t think of the title 😦 happy writing

    Liked by 1 person

  25. mistermuse November 13, 2018 / 9:39 pm

    Very interesting post.

    Cab Calloway’s ST. JAMES INFIRMARY was one of a few dozen of his old recordings in my collection until I recently sold my entire collection of 78 rpm records for reasons I won’t go into. I’m simply say that having to part with my decades-in-the-making collection was harder than having teeth pulled and gum disease repaired!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2018 / 10:36 pm

      I’m sorry to hear about your 78s. That stinks. I can relate to your pain . . . I have a large collection of vinyl albums. That collection means a whole, whole lot to me. I’d hate to part with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. pjlazos November 13, 2018 / 9:51 pm

    Imagine dental health in the 18th or 19th centuries. Yuck!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Ann Coleman November 13, 2018 / 10:16 pm

    Oh, I can relate to your dental issues! My experience hasn’t been quite as bad as yours, but I’m also not done yet, so who knows, I may catch up. But the thing is, I have taken good care of my teeth, or at least I’ve tried. I honestly think genetics is a huge factor in what kind of teeth we end up with so please don’t be too hard on yourself. And I’m impressed with how bravely you dealt with the treatments! Hope you are all done with procedures….

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Still the Lucky Few November 13, 2018 / 11:25 pm

    Congrats on catching the periodontal disease just in time! Loved the last two selections, but couldn’t open The Memphis Train. Darn, it’s on my mind now, so off I go to YouTube!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 14, 2018 / 7:32 am

      Morning, Diane (very early morning in your case). YouTube music videos sometimes don’t play in certain countries because of licensing situations, or something or other like that. Maybe that’s what happened when you clicked on Memphis Train. Anyway, there are a number of other YouTube versions of the song online, so I hope you found one that works. Bye for now —


  29. selizabryangmailcom November 14, 2018 / 4:45 am

    It sounds like you were in a further advanced state of periodontal disease which had to be dealt with (props!) but my dad, a dentist, says 90% of people get periodontal disease in some form.
    It’s evidently just part of being human. But it can obviously be held in check and not progress.
    So the dentist above who pulled all the man’s teeth out–criminal incompetence and/or greed !!!
    Now I have to listen to your musical selections in order to try to get my Zen back again……

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 14, 2018 / 7:41 am

      Hi. I just listened once again to Pass The Gin. Great song. It has a lot of kick, but in a relaxing sort of way. It might be good for Zen inducement. Have a great week, Stacey. See ya!

      Liked by 1 person

      • selizabryangmailcom November 17, 2018 / 5:46 pm

        Okay, just listened to Pass The Gin. You’re totally right. A little kick, but mellow kick. Very, very nice for Zen inducement. On top of which, of course, I wouldn’t mind if someone was passing me a huge glass of gin right now. Your post inspired me to do a post about the amazing flare-up of sciatica I’m going through. Yeah, pass the gin…OR ELSE. Thanks, Neil.


        • Yeah, Another Blogger November 17, 2018 / 10:39 pm

          Uh-oh. Sciatica is bad news. I’m sorry to hear about that. I hope it calms down very soon.


  30. nickklezek November 14, 2018 / 7:10 am

    Teeth are important we should take care of them properly. Thanks for reminding.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. tylerus November 14, 2018 / 9:02 am

    Great music and great advice! (Been there with the periodontist, ugh – or is that ouch?)

    Liked by 1 person

  32. cincinnatibabyhead November 14, 2018 / 12:54 pm

    Hopefully my regular appointments with my dentist, Dr Hurtin, are helping. I’ll have to suggest these tunes to him (while he has everything in mouth including the kitchen sink). He plays that music that doesn’t help the experience. Love the tunes. The Meadowlarks were new to me. One of my fave versions of St James is Armstrong and Teagarden.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. draliman November 15, 2018 / 2:43 am

    It’s when you get to my age and wish you’d taken better care of the teeth when you were a bit younger…

    Liked by 1 person

  34. alhenry November 16, 2018 / 4:47 pm

    St. James Infirmary, by Cab Calloway–now that’s some mighty fine flossing music. My take-away from this post, Neil, is that while “Millions of top-notch recordings have faded away in music,” our teeth live on!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. jeanleesworld November 16, 2018 / 10:31 pm

    Ah, thank you for this piece. Between my daughter and my pregnancy gingivitis, I’m always careful about my teeth…if only Bo could be persuaded to visit the dentist…

    Liked by 1 person

  36. America On Coffee November 17, 2018 / 9:30 am

    Dentist are scary when you do not get annual checkups. Giving blood samples are less dangerous than a dental procedure. Going years without, lead to one’s teeth being scraped away. The drill is a murder weapon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 17, 2018 / 1:40 pm

      We all need to keep our gums and teeth clean. Big problems can develop otherwise. Have a real good rest of the weekend, AOC. Many thanks, as always, for paying a visit to my humble website.


      • America On Coffee November 17, 2018 / 2:01 pm

        Your humble website is so enjoyable and you have such a unique show of hospitality…that is so welcoming.

        Liked by 1 person

  37. The Lockwood Echo November 20, 2018 / 5:03 am

    I could definitely clean my teeth to Pass The Gin! Thankyou for another introduction to great song 🙂 Hope your dental woes are now behind you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 20, 2018 / 6:51 am

      Hey there. Yeah, I learned my listen years ago. Ever since then I’ve done my best to try and maintain a good state of oral health. Take care —

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Tyson Martin November 24, 2018 / 2:16 am

    oh wow very good idea and I also like listening to songs in the morning

    Liked by 1 person

  39. thehopethatneverdied November 27, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    Good afternoon!

    I never thought to brush my teeth with music before. Thanks for the idea!

    “Millions of top-notch recordings have faded away in music history’s scrapbook.”

    This is a very sobering point that really stuck with me. I wonder how many cool songs have been lost in that “scrapbook?”

    Thanks for posting! Have a wonderful day!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. aj vosse December 12, 2018 / 3:46 am

    Gotta investigate “Pass the Gin”…
    Thanks for the edification… about dental health, music and late night boogie tunes… now, pass the mouthwash, won’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

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