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  Sowing the Dragon's Teeth:
by Montana Dove Wojczuk
The Battle Against Water Fluoridation
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from the September/October 2003 issue of Modern Dentist magazine
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by Joel Gunz
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Two teeth in your pocket

One of my favorite "your mama" caps in elementary school was "Your mama has three in her mouth and two in her pocket." While I enjoyed hours of laughter, and a few tears after getting punched for saying it to the wrong guy, I realized that teeth are no joking matter.

From 6th to 8th grade, I rang up thousands of my parents hard-earned dollars on orthodontia. I started with braces, and was fortunate enough to have lips that covered them to the point that some classmates never knew I even had them. The retainers were harder to hide, however. My first retainer floated in my mouth like a large plastic piece of gum, making basic speech difficult. I learned to adapt, but not after breaking a few from biting down too hard on them.

When fitting me for my second retainer, which was much more streamlined, my orthodontist told me to "Never put your retainer in a napkin, ever!" He never offered an explanation as to why, so I drew my own conclusions and assumed that the metal or plastic would react negatively to the paper fibers, thus ruining it.

For more than a year, I managed to keep my retainer firmly in my mouth, with the exception of one morning while taking a leak and yawning. While other friends managed to lose their oral gear at school dances and on vacations, I slurred through readings in Language Arts class.

On my 13th birthday, we went to Chuck E Cheese's Pizzatime Theater. Cardboard pizza, scary robotic animals and too much soda are hard to pass up. When it was time to eat, I realized I forgot my retainer holder and looked around for a backup plan. The primary candidate was a napkin. I briefly recalled the warning I'd received a year previous and elected to take my chances.

After returning home that night, I realized I'd left my retainer at Chuck's and ended up going back to look for it. We dug through the garbage, but never found it. On the way home, I realized why my orthodontist told me not to put it in a napkin. He could have saved me $250 by just telling me why. Stupid chemical reactions.