I have a special hidden weapon in my wallet… a paper clip. While many detectives use it as a smart looking lockpick, I use it every time I finish my meal, as a toothpick.

Yes, I use the paper clip to unblock any food leftover from my teeth, especially in a dental cavity on my lower left molar. It’s super effective… I put one in my wallet so I don’t have to waste my time looking for an actual toothpick. You may find it dirty, but I clean my paper clip eventually (when I remember that I have to).

I brush my teeth at least once a day; twice if it starts to hurt. But I know, sooner or later, my teeth won’t be able to hold on. My lower right molar was my first toll. It began with a small cavity, then it cracked some time ago when I ate something hard. Now, it’s just a ruin I need to pull out. I hope time can pull it out for me so I don’t have to meet a dentist for help.

My lower left molar is now having it’s time; starting with a small cavity. I know it’ll grow bigger no matter how many time I brush my teeth, no matter how many time I floss or wash it with a mouthwash. It will grow bigger no matter how many time I put dental fillings to cover it up. Everything will decay no matter how hard you prevent it to happen.

It’s just a good effort to slow the process down, so maybe you can die with good teeth. But I have lost that chance anyway.


My grandmother is old. Very old. She is older than Indonesian independence itself. And in her own long struggling life, from colonialism to reformation, she only met a dentist just once (that was to make her dentures recently). I think, I have inherited her obstinacy in this case…

Surely, Ralf Schwarzer’s health action process approach in changing behavior is not applicable on me, and my grandmother. My grandmother has fear over malpractice dentistry long ago that has caused her old friend to suffer more (and end in death; true story). She has dentistry-phobia since then. I myself don’t have any fear but only an uncomfortable childhood experience. I just unaware of its danger. I mean, I know the danger, I just spent most of my time not thinking about it.


I have thousand of reasons to be granted the pain of toothache. I have more than 300 types of bacteria living in my mouth to cause me many dental problems. Yet, as many of you also do, I don’t bothered by that. You may see it as an act of ingratitude, but it’s quite normal, isn’t it? People still smoke cigarettes even if they know it’s bad for their lung, don’t they? You still eat super spicy food even if you know it’s bad for your stomach, don’t you? You still wail for your regrets even if you tried persistently to forget it, don’t you?

I don’t mean that I’ll neglect my mouth hygiene. I’ll still brush my teeth once or twice a day. I’ll still use the mouthwash my mom gave me. I’ll even floss if I have to. I guess, I just don’t bother to think of things that is clear. I have no fear over explainable things (I just lost my excitement as I grow older). I have no fear of death, I just fear of what will happen after it.

I know that my filthy teeth may hurt me bad. It already did, and eventually it will… but a dentist can capture me with so many unexplainable things, such as a yet-unexplainable atypical odontalgia. Chronic pain that we don’t even know the cause (yet). And I’ll just have to face the pain. What’s the difference?

Ah, my friend said that, “it is God that gives us illness and it is also God that heals us, we are just to learn and worship even more.”. Well, I agree, but I think, he over-simplify things. I believe that, God doesn’t just give us this and that! God creates something bigger. God creates the law of nature… That is why He orders us to learn and to be wise! So don’t pray to ask God to cancel the gravity tomorrow. Don’t expect to keep your lungs healthy just by praying to God while you smoke as much as you pray. Don’t expect that you’ll be rich just by sitting in the mosque all the time, praying for it.

I expect that pain will come. Our body is a super-machine, but as many other machines, it will obsolete. No matter how well you treat it, as long as your metabolism running, it will obsolete. Someday, your blood will lose its pace. That is the law of nature. And that is why we have to use our limited time wisely.

Let’s expect that the toothache will come; we use our teeth everyday, don’t we? we grind it, torture it… Oh let’s hope that it won’t come, but even if it does come, let’s don’t bother it. Get some medication to your supply. And even if you have to meet a dentist, let’s meet them with dignity. Your teeth may not be as beautiful as it was, but it has overcome the hardest every day job of any of your body parts. You have to be proud of that.

Just like your teeth, all you have to do is work harder, cling to hope, and pray for the best… even if you know that there’s a high possibility that it will end in painful moment…

So many delicious food to taste, why bother?

Fajrin Yusuf M
Garut, August 3rd, 2017

I apologize if you find this writing meaningless and has wasted your time… I hope I can do better to express it… I hope I will do better in the future… 🙂



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Published byFajrin Yusuf

AsGar, Social Entrepreneur, Hiker, Writing to Kill Time

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