Trying my darndest to chew on some peanuts with remaining teeth awhile ago made me think of posting this topic. PLEASE take good care of your teeth! You'll be glad you did as you get older.
I never did from elementary school age on. As I mentioned in Mandi's "Social Class" thread, with my dad the way he was and mom working at night, there was no one to really get behind me to make sure I took care of my teeth. By the third or fourth grade my tooth troubles were starting. I was having painful tooth aches from cavities in my baby teeth. Every time I would try to eat the pain would bring tears to my eyes. So, my mother took me to a dentist to have them pulled. She told him to pull every one that looked bad. He put me to sleep with gas and ended up pulling four of them.
That took care of the pain for a time, but troubles from tooth neglect continued. By the time I was 12 decay had eaten into several of my permanent teeth. Some of the fillings needed were deep and the novacaine needles painful, especially closer to the front of my mouth. The dentist was a good one and tried to lessen the discomfort as much as possible.
With all I had been through by then you'd think I would be taking better care of my teeth, but ingrained habits can be very hard to break. As I went through my teen years, additional teeth were filled and ones already filled had larger/deeper fillings put in as the decay continued. By early adulthood I had passed the fill/refill stage. I now entered the root canal/crown restoration phase of dentistry. I also had to deal with painful absesses from previous deep fillings. A couple extractions were also done on teeth too far gone to restore.
Finally, after all this self inflicted misery, I started trying to take better care of the teeth still remaining, but it was too little, too late. The damage had been done! So now many of my molars are gone. What ones remain are missing either upper or lower counterpart to occlude with. Only a few bottom front teeth have never experienced a dentist's drill. These days, many of the snacks I enjoyed in younger years are impossible, or nearly so, to chew properly. Pop a few nuts in my mouth and it takes forever to break them up with frontmost teeth. Try chewing on licorice candy and a crown comes off. To have implants put in would cost a small fortune since they are not now covered by insurance. My only recourse is to keep going with root canals and crowns as needed, and try to hang on to the teeth I have left for as long as possible. I dread the thought of having to deal with dentures. However, I see the day coming when I may not have much choice. So, again, PLEASE take good care of your teeth while you're young and save yourselves much of the pain and expense I've gone through by neglecting mine.