24 minus 7

24-minus-7While at the office and in the midst of preparing for closings coming up later this month, I was visited upon by a past tenant who was looking for an apartment or small house. I did get to know him a little while he and his girlfriend were tenants so I was being a bit more sociable with him while he was there. I asked how things were going and casually mentioned that it surprised me to find how the years have passed since he was a tenant of the office. I did mention how he had changed a bit in looks. He simply said it was just part of his growing older. He said he would like to get some sort of designation that would offer an inside job rather than what he’s been doing. In my rather brutally honest way, I told him he would have to shave every day and get some work done on his teeth.

He immediately blushed and said, “I’ve already spent far too much money on my teeth these past months!” I went on to ask what work he had done. To my astonishment, he told me he recently had seven teeth pulled. I was nearly speechless. I couldn’t help but ask why. He said they were abscessing and had to be pulled. I then asked how often he went to the dentist while growing up. He said never. I asked if he still had cavities that needed fillings, and he said yes. All I could say was for him to do everything he could to save the rest of his teeth. Still in utter amazement of his situation I said, “You are only 24 years old! You are far too young to be loosing permanent teeth!”

I did mention to him how many people who are far, far younger than me with decayed as well as missing teeth. I noticed several young men likely in their late teens last week who had visibly rotting teeth. I’m beginning to wonder what some parents use as a justification to knowingly allow their children to develop decaying teeth. Are school systems not at least attempting to encourage parents to take an active step in maintaining their children’s oral hygiene? On the flip side, there are some people that are overly concerned about how straight and white their teeth are. There are business people I encounter at times who have teeth so white they look fake. If there would only be a welcome balance with society. Something I had never considered until today is for there to be a charitable fund created where people would donate and receive tax write-offs and be used for young people who can prove they can’t afford dental work. Then, we would have dentists who would perform the work at a lesser rate in order that more people could receive the necessary dental care. I would be one of the first to donate to that fund. I can’t even imagine the embarrassment some of these young people must have to endure for the remainder of their lives. We don’t need to have any more 24 year old people running around minus seven of their permanent teeth that were meant to last a lifetime.