Losing teeth is something that slowly creeps up on you.
As your standard of living improves, your teeth go backwards, not keeping pace with the enjoyment of life.
Poetic justice says that the trendiest people you envied, eat the best food, and sweetest desserts, but in the end have worse teeth and you.
Travellers have to be careful because some have blurted their dentures into the sea, over the side of a tourist boat and you can’t do that if you are poor.
Dentures also have a connection to romance. You may think no one will love you with dentures, but when your partner or best friend gets a partial denture, the world is back to normal. With a toothy smile you can both go back to nuts and sweet Arabic desserts.
New dentures give grey nomads chewing confidence, a passport to the rest of their adventurous lives that include slightly more classy food, holidays, whale watching and cruises.
From a chewing point of view, the grey army hardly ever loses a denture, travelling around Australia which is much safer than cruises or getting ill and retching on a plane. Suppose your food is off because your van fridge is playing up in the outback. If you vomit, your teeth won’t go far.
Mikey my Denture genius from Daisy Hill, Brisbane, says an ill-fitting denture can easily pop out while its owner is whale watching. He told me that one customer exclaimed, look at that whale, with emphasis on leaning and the “wh”, sending the denture flying into the Pacific Ocean off Fraser Island. Mikey says there is a good chance they were ill-fitting.
“The dog chewed up my false teeth,” has also been reported to these technicians. Once they’re repaired and sterilised, the patient can get back to romance and happy chewing.
Stories abound of people vomiting their dentures over the sides of cruise ships and keen fishermen coughing theirs into the drink while exclaiming, something like, “what a great fish we have here Larry.”
Some dentures have come out while parachuting and my friend Russell coughed his into a huge wave at the Gold Coast. They were gone forever.
But my all-time- denture-story goes to my father-in-law, Nicos Christou, who swore at his dentist after he was quoted an exorbitant extraction price.
He went home to his East London flat in Hackney, consumed half a bottle of whisky, borrowed a pair of pliers and ripped out all remaining teeth. He was a blacksmith by trade and had strong wrists.
Then he got his free dentures on the national health but he hated the feel of them. They became social dentures, which were worn only for meals and social gatherings.
Not surprisingly, Nick’s teeth spent more time in his lunchbox than his mouth. One day while travelling on a number 55 bus to his factory job, he got talking and forgot his lunch.
At this point we need to highly respect the London transit authority because if you leave anything decent on a bus, it turns up in lost and found.
Nick got raucous laughter when he pleaded over the phone for his teeth.
“No one has handed in your dentures Nicos, probably because they were joined to your sandwiches, but why weren’t they in your mouth?”
Swearing profusely, he muttered something about the stupid English and his ill-fitting teeth and heartless bus cleaners, but as an avid story-teller, the next question from the depths of London Transport was a gift that would keep the Cypriot laughing for the next 20 years.
“Was your name engraved on the teeth?” chortled a voice from lost and found.
Nicos swore again then went back to his whiskey.
(cartoon of Nicos, Cypriot blacksmith, and my father in law, who pulled out how own teeth to save money)