I went to my dentist for a much overdue check-up today.
I hadn't been since September 2012. There was no especial reason for not going back sooner: I suppose holidays and other expenditure had drained me of funds so much that throughout 2013 I never felt free and easy about making an appointment and paying for the consequences. But an occasional twinge from one of my upper right molars made me suspect that a filling was due, and I had better deal with it. I did not want the tooth getting any worse. And if Nina (my dentist) decided that a crown would be best, I'd just have to bite the bullet. (Well, only figuratively, of course! Biting a bullet would probably break most of my teeth!)
I'm afraid that all my molars, top and bottom, left and right, show the destructive effects of consuming confectionery when young. If not already crowned, they are all heavily filled. The first crown came in 1994. Several more have followed. I have to say they have all lasted well. Some of the fillings have had to be replaced, and when this has been necessary I have always opted for the more expensive white filling. It looks so much more natural than the silver filling.
So my dentition has been gradually tidied up and made more durable. Despite my age, no teeth are missing. None are stained, none are broken or crooked, and, thank goodness, not many have got out of alignment. All the ones that get bared in a smile or a grin look wholesome and (though I sez it myself) pardonably attractive for someone who in days of yore spent their pocket money chiefly on sherbet, Mars bars, and Cadbury's Fruit and Nut!
Somewhere along the line I lost my yearning for sweet things. I gave up sugar in tea and coffee in the early 1980s, and at the same time began to drink my coffee black. The bitterness didn't bother me. Generally I stopped feasting on sugar, and although it took a while to give up sugary cereals (such as in Sugar Puffs and Frosties), eventually I reduced my obvious sugar intake to a minimum. This must have drastically slowed down tooth decay.
More recently, since 2009 in fact, I've confined my consumption of sweet things to bread and jam, dried fruit, apples, and the occasional irresistible dessert when dining out. I've sometimes sipped a glass of Coke in the summer, but I do it for sheer refreshment when out on a very hot day, not because I am hooked on sweet drinks. In fact, I keep no soft drinks in the house at all - unless Elderflower cordial, diluted with tap water, counts as a soft drink.
No, I've shifted to the savoury world. Given a choice between a cup cake and a sausage roll, it will be the sausage roll every time. I'm not kidding. And I like Marmite.
All this has a bearing on what to stock up with at Christmas. I have no plans to entertain at home, but I'm sure that a lot of people will take the view that I absolutely must get in a stock of sweet goods, just in case. They will say that Christmas is utterly incomplete without Christmas puddings, dates, turkish delight, satsumas, chocolates, mince pies, cakes and toffees!
But without a blush I am going to declare, here and now, that I'm going to make do without them.
I want to see if I can get through Christmas this year without expanding my waistline any further. I shall buy only savoury stuff, try not to eat too much of it, and rely on my usual apple as a dessert. This plan will be foiled somewhat by any meals away from home; but then I'm not going to spoil anyone else's Christmas atmosphere by piously refusing a sugar-covered mince pie or two, although that'll have to be my limit.
I do of course have to go back to the dentist for treatment in the New Year. One of those upper right molars has developed a crack, and another (the wisdom tooth, actually) needs a small filling. So it would be very wise to avoid eating anything that will attack my teeth further, before Nina can do her stuff.