Our delay on the west coast was due to the girls’ appointments at the dentist. Today, we returned to get painless minor work done on the three older girls who qualify for care within the school dental system.

Brioni at the dentist, July 2013
Brioni is the first to sit in the chair, and she is the most assertive with the dentist.

Aisha at the dentist, July 2013
Aisha needed to get an injection before her stray baby tooth was extracted. The dentist asks her to wiggle her fingers while the needle goes into her gum.

When she had her check-up a couple of weeks ago, Calista was very hesitant and didn’t want to sit in the dental chair. Today, however, she turned to me as soon as she entered the dental van and asked if the “man dentist” was here. It turns out that her reluctance to attend the dentist had everything to do with interacting with a strange man and actually nothing to do with dental work!

Calista at the dentist, July 2013
Calista's teeth are polished with a tiny whizzing disc.

I had an interesting conversation with the dentist who has been working with schools for over thirty years. In her experience, the fluoridation of water has had a great impact on the number of cavities with which young children are presenting. She said that before the water was fluoridated, young children would have four to five cavities when they started school. Now she says that is very rare to see early cavities, except when the child has transferred from an area without treated water.

This woman has a story about fluoride and its health benefits. She believes in the story and sees corresponding results.

I know that there is an another story about fluoridation, a negative one. But I have yet to encounter someone who has such a strong story about the negative effects of fluoridation.

Every day, we choose to process stories that influence our lives. We give certain ones power and they manifest results for us.

I’m open to hearing and receiving stories from many different sources, but I am particularly attracted to positive stories. As soon as a story is imbued with fear — telling me to be afraid because of something — I can choose to reject that story and not let it influence me.

I deliberately choose to not live surrounded by fear, and I certainly don’t want to pass my own niggling fears to our girls. Instead, I trust that life is unfolding for us in the best possible way. As they grow, the children will collect their formative stories and reach their own conclusions about their limitations and possibilities. This freedom to be on their own journey is what gives them a wider, brighter future, and I know the world will be better for it!