So much of a southerner's life is built from the ground up on advice, stories, and backporch rumors. I've found it to be both salvation and condemnation, a two headed living, breathing facet of psychic composition.
The reality of this slapped me centerface during casual conversation with a rural dentist in lieu of gathering health article info.
The backstory of this is a story within itself. I had this brilliant idea after reading a CDC (Center for Disease Control) press release listing state by state optimal fluoridation levels of community water systems. Here I must interject, that one must have the necessary intuitive skills to read between the lines of state stats and discern, hmm. . . .Mississippi is bringing up the rear again. We have some of the lowest water fluoridation levels in the U.S. Again, hmm . . . . A big concern for the 3 million that use community water systems and their developing offspring. One of many dental health factors, those without early exposure to fluoride are 50 to 60 percent more likely to experience dental decay according to a nationwide ADA study. Here we cycle once more - - most in Mississippi do not have nor can afford dental insurance to cover ongoing or emergency oral health care.
Since it is election time and I had been hot-on-the-trail wanting to expose the Mississippi masses to the importance of long-term dental care or the lack thereof, I thought wa-la, great opportunity.
Little did I know at the time, a certain health editor did not find dental health worthy of publication. I suppose this person deduced that the CDC was a bit bored and decided to release a tidbit of unusable info to the Unites States' press. It is a frustrating cycle of ignorance we fight in Mississippi. Enough to throw up your hands forming a declaration of "rot in it, and take your dentures with you."
Back to the wise rural dentist and his community story - - As a proprietor of ideas and info, I asked at my recent visit about his small town water association.
Dr. Dentist told me, "We are said to have a fluoridated water system, but we don't have it. It's not in there." The person in charge of actually placing fluoridation in the system, will not put it in there.
Curiosity is my middle name. I hammered him for more.
"There's a community rumor that fluoridation is a Communist plot to kill," Dr. Dentist explained.
I sat stunned that a rumor might jeopardize an entire community of developing teeth. I guess one might call it, oral bridgework over rumor rot.
I sit even more stunned considering those that hold power in Mississippi to educate and make positive changes either cannot feel the pulse point of their constituents or lack the intuitiveness to get the word out when opportunity rears it's head amid election time.
Perhaps some of us deserve to rot in our rumors, but so many do not.
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