Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Just give 'em a toothbrush

True story, I had a patient who I met for the first time when he was in his early 20’s. He was engaged to get married to a very nice girl who had been my patient for a few years. He came to me for his first ever dental visit. He had never been to the dentist before, his parents never took him. So I reviewed his health history with him, nice healthy young man. Asked him if he was excited to be getting married, found out what he did for a living. We took some x-rays, I did an oral exam and found a ton of stuff going on in his mouth. He had developed the early stages of periodontal disease, decay, and his mouth looked like a mess. So I finished my exam and then sat the chair back up. I reviewed with him what we had found, discussed with him what we could do for him to get things healthy and repaired and answered his questions. I then educated him on how to take care of his mouth, mainly focusing on regular brushing. Yes I am a hygienist who rarely harped on their patients about flossing, while I think it’s very important some people needed to master brushing first. So I supplied him with a toothbrush, floss, and recommended some mouth rinses to help things get healthy in his mouth. We then went out to reschedule him to come back so we could clean his teeth and start on some of the restorations/fillings for the teeth with decay. So the next time I saw him, he seemed a little more comfortable about being in my chair. I asked him how things were going and he started to tell me "well I have to be honest with you, I have never owned a toothbrush, this whole toothbrush thing is new to me, I am excited to find out if I have been doing it right." What? You have to be kidding me, a guy in his 20’s in the United States of America and he has NEVER owned a toothbrush. I had a ton of questions in my head…What about his parents? Where they neglecting him, or did they not know about toothbrushes? Had he ever watched TV, and wondered what people were doing with a small hair brush in their mouth? And what about the fact he was engaged to get married? I don’t know about the rest of you, but brushing your teeth was most definitely a pre-requisite before I said Yes to the big question! Yikes! I was speechless for what seemed like an eternity. I was trying not to let this shock me or throw me off my hygiene chair…but too late. I tried to collect my professionalism and thoughts quickly as I didn’t want to give him a complex. "Well let’s lay you back and see how you have been doing!" As I lay the chair back I am thinking…I wonder what he thought the small white string was used for?!?!

Do you know that there are people around you in your circle of influence that need Jesus, but maybe have never been introduced to Him? Yeah you might wonder, "how in today’s world could someone not know of Jesus?" Just like I wondered about the whole toothbrush thing.

Maybe we just need to "give em" Jesus!

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
Matthew 9:35-38

May we not assume that Jesus is a "given" for everyone!


Kristen said...

Awesome comparison. How often we take it for granted that everyone has heard about Jesus! Tell everyone about him! I will never look at my toothbrush the same again! I will think of Jesus each time I brush my teeth and pray for those who do not know him, that they come to know him... and that if I am the person to introduce him, that God would put that person in my path that day!

Runner Mom said...

Amen!! I love what Kristen said that she will do!! I think I'll follow suit! Hope you have a great day, girlfriend!

My Army Brats and Me said...

Thank you for praying for me. Tommorrow will be a big dr's appt for me. Hoping to know more.

Joyful said...

Incredible story!

Just like toothpaste can whiten a smile, Jesus can whiten a life through His forgiveness.

Not making any assumptions,

Krista said...

I, too, am curious as to what he did with the dental floss. LOL Great post. I am thoroughly impressed with this encouragement today. Keep 'em coming.


Pinkshoelady said...

Just when you think you have heard it all! My first thought was to wonder how his fiance even kissed him. Blah!

Great comparrison though! We take our faith and our churchy upbringings for granted.

Zoie loves you! I'm not kidding! She looked at your picture and saw what you had written to her and she now asks about you everyday. She even asked if I knew if you lived close enough to babysit sometime!

You two are destined to meet one day! She is convinced!

I love you too!
So we must meet someday too!

Love you bunches more!

The Patterson 5 said...

I agree with Kristen I too will never look at my tooth brush the same again and what a great thing to do while brushing- pray for those who do not know him. I am so glad you were with that man and showed him such compassion. You have changed his life most definately for the better by first helping his oral health and by being so compassionate.

Edie said...

Wow, great analogy. And I'm very impressed with the humble, child-like, attitude this poor man had about learning how to take care of his teeth. The same way we should approach the Throne of Grace.

Leebird said...

I'll think of you everytime I brush my teeth!

Founder - THIS I KNOW, Inc. said...

Wow! Just to think all we have to do is give 'em Jesus. Why do we make this so difficult sometimes? Thanks for this reminder; you have an awesome way of making our duties as Christians so clear and easy to do/understand.

Love ya Nichole!!!

My ADHD Me said...

Loved your analogy. I'm impressed this young man came back after learning all the things that needed to be done.
You must have done a wonderful job at making him comfortable and at ease.
Personally, I have dentist phobia. I go every 6 months but it terrifies me and I need Nitrous just for cleanings. My dentist laughs that I will crawl into a burning building but need sedation to have my teeth cleaned.
ALSO, My son has a friend..he's 17 now but started spending the night and visiting at about 12. He too never had a tooth brush. (by the way, his parents are missing teeth...hhmmm) I gave him one. The next time he came over I asked him where it was and he said his little brothers played with it and lost it. I gave him another to take home and one to keep at our house just for him. Next time I went to my dentist, I told him and he gave me a handful of the ones he gives to his patients and asked me to keep giving them out as necessary....Except for the fact that I am terrified of what he does...I love my dentist!

Cindy said...

What a great analogy.
I worked in a church for so long that it never dawned on me that there were others who really didn't know Jesus.
Now that I work in the medical field I see things in a new light.
This is a great story that reminds us of such a truth.
Your writings always make me think.
Blessings, Cindy