Doc Kavanaugh was our family’s dentist growing up and, for many years after my childhood had passed, I continued to return to my hometown to visit him, right up to the point when he stopped practicing at age – 75? He seemed ancient, so let’s say, 70? LOL. He had a very charming manner, and was, I discovered later, a total ladies’ man, which made complete sense. He’d given me several of those teeny mirrors on a long metal stem that dentists use to look at your teeth because I asked for one; how cool to see what was back there, I guess I thought? I was obsessed with the frightening possibility of having to have my tonsils out, which might also have been the reason I wanted one. I never did, phew! Doc Kavanaugh had the softest hands and touch of anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in my mouth. I do not like having other people’s fingers in my mouth; I suppose no one does? Are there people with hand in mouth fetishes? Yick, I hope not. Regardless, Doc Kavanaugh was the exception to that, for me, and I was terribly fond of the old geezer, who had white hair the entire time I was his patient, and seemed very wise, always, to me. 

Round about the time I was ten or eleven, I decided to stop brushing my teeth for a year, just to see what happened between our annual visits to Dr. K’s office on Main Street, up over Marsico’s Department store. I decided to do this because, as I had long since learned, adults lied and told half-truths all the time, especially my mother, and it was she who insisted we brush nightly, otherwise we’d get a mouth full of cavities, guaranteed. But – the plot thickens – she had bad, cavity prone, soft teeth; her teeth were weak! And, Doctor Kavanaugh said I had perfect teeth, maybe a little crowded on the bottom in front, but otherwise, hard as rocks, strong teeth, and he said I had perfect and perfectly healthy gums. Also, and I’m sure y’all agree, these little every day, twice a day, style chores get really boring after a while. So! Like the true scientist I most definitely am not, I quit brushing for a year to test the reality of the so-called ‘absolutely true’ maxims around dental hygiene, cavities and teeth. 

What can I say? I was a head-strong, stubborn little kid who deserved every rotten tooth and nasty cavity the universe could throw at me. I continued to eat candy at an unchecked pace, after all; the nerve! I had zero cavities up to that point, such a point of pride, the only member of my family to be so honored by the universe, all whilst trembling on the point of lift off into being a stubborn, head-strong teen, gleefully hopping into bed each night having skipped a step, living dangerously, amidst my year of not brushing my teeth!! Oh, Universe! Oh, Doc Kavanaugh! Oh, Colgate! Oh My!  

The year swiftly passed, and I returned to Doc Kavanaugh’s office, hoping he wouldn’t realize I’d been so bad (surely, he would knowsurely he would notice what I’d doneor hadn’t done?!!), hoping I wouldn’t have a mouth full of rot, or did I hope I would, be punished, as I deserved, or did I? It was time to find out the results of my experiment.

What can I say? I had one teeny tiny cavity, which I refused novocaine for the removal of, and while it sucked, sort of, well, so much for a disaster in my mouth, you lying son’s a bitches!   

  *No one, no one, wants to kiss a mouth full of lil black nasties (cavities), or, Gawdess forbid, bigger ones, thus the authoress – since her ‘experiment all those years ago – brushes twice daily, and flosses after every meal – without fail!!