I am usually all about fixing people’s malfunctioning electronics (especially a tablet or laptop), but today I am playing a vastly different role. I am taking time off from my usual focus to help my sister wrangle her kids to the dreaded dentist. Times like this make me glad I’m single. It can be a hassle if a child is afraid of the man in the white coat and balks. There can be assorted kicking and screaming It takes a lot of persuasion from Uncle Charlie to get them into the scary dental chair. My skills are being tested twofold—one time for each kid. The tots have cavities which is surprising given the prevalence of fluoride toothpaste. I know that this element is not added to community water after years of complaints. Parents didn’t realize the benefits to developing teeth and assumed that an alien element was automatically undesirable. Statistics have proved otherwise and now kids are getting tooth decay in droves in fluoride-free areas. It had been proven after seventy years that this chemical prevents more than 25% of cavities. It was at one time the official policy of the U.S. Public Health Service, dating back to the early 1950s. Let’s bring back the fluoride. Remember, it is a local issue so you must vote for the right people.

There is another problem associates with this story. My sister and her husband had installed a reverse osmosis water filtration system years ago because the tap water had an unpleasant taste and telltale odor. We are so spoiled by bottled water, that no one can tolerate anything but pure perfection. And so, the filter might have removed any valuable natural or added fluoride (even small doses). The kids most likely didn’t get enough of it in any form whatsoever. If they don’t start using that special toothpaste, which shall be nameless, I will be escorting the young ones to the dentist once again soon. And possibly over and over again.

Filling cavities is not the most fun experience for a child, even if they get a tiny toy afterward (that they lose in fifteen minutes). It involves opening your mouth painfully wide for a very long time, so it seems. It means a nasty shot of Novocain in the delicate gum area that doesn’t wear off for hours (so you have to miss lunch). If you are lucky, you get ice cream. The drilling isn’t thrilling and scares the heck out of the patient, no matter the age. It seems interminable although probably about ten minutes. If you haven’t passed out in fright, the dental assistant puts in all kids of horrible tasting solutions. Finally, the filler goes in and you are ready to go home, mercifully. It doesn’t help that Uncle Charlie tells you what a good boy or girl you have been. It doesn’t help that your sister thanks you profusely.