A 56-year-old women from Essex, in the UK. According to the Daily Mail, she “revealed she stuck used pieces of chewing gum in her mouth” to hide the fact that she had teeth missing.
If you had some teeth missing, there are a variety of things you could use to replace them: dental implants, wood a la George Washington, even a glass tooth is probably an option. One woman in Essex decided to use chewed up gum to replace her missing teeth. Read more about the woman who was too scared to go to the dentist and used old chewing gum stained with coffee to mask her missing teeth.
Where it all began: This story originated on a TV show on Channel 4 in the UK called “Never Seen A Doctor.”
The premise: The premise is exactly what you’d expect. Katie Piper, the host, travels around the UK meeting people who, because of their fear of doctors or other reasons, have avoided seeing a doctor in the face of different medical and health issues.
Examples: A woman with severe acne finally finds the courage to see a physician. A woman in Scotland has issues with her psoriasis. And a couple in Leicestershire decide to do something about their rotting teeth.
Meet Sue: Sue is a 56-year-old women from Essex, in the UK. According to the Daily Mail, she “revealed she stuck used pieces of chewing gum in her mouth” to hide the fact that she had teeth missing.
But how many teeth? It wasn’t two teeth, or five teeth. Sue had 17 teeth remaining. But she didn’t just put the gum onto her teeth without treating it first.
The gum: The gum was pre-chewed, yes. But Sue took it a step further. She “coated the gum in coffee” before putting it into her mouth in an attempt at making the gum look more like teeth.
Her reasoning: Sue suffers from a very intense form of dental phobia. Years and years of being terrified of the dentist prevented her from entering an office. “Sue spoke candidly about her crippling fear which saw her teeth decay and her confidence plummet,” according to the Daily Mail. “For years the mother admitted she didn’t have a job and barely left the house."
Dental phobia and anxiety is very real: According to Colgate.com, it’s estimated that between 9 percent and 15 percent of Americans avoid dentists because of anxiety and fear. That may sound like a small amount but that sits somewhere around 30-40 million people.
Risks: People put themselves at risk for gum infections, severe pain, and unsightly teeth, as Sue did. They may also suffer from poorer health and even lower life expectancy in extreme cases.
The aftermath: Daughter Katie and Emma convinced Sue to go forward with the surgery and now Sue’s confidence is revitalized, along with her brand new smile.
Viewer outlash: Twitter was savage in their response to this episode of “Never Seen A Doctor.” Users tweeted “And you couldn’t clean your teeth because…?” “#NeverSeenADoctor is making me gag,” and much more.
Support. Some tweeted about being inspired by Sue’s tale to get themselves to a dentist immediately. “Sue you look fabulous well done to the dentist for her transformation,” tweeted one viewer.
Inspiration. One viewer hoped making her kids watch the program would serve as a warning. “I will be making my kids watch next week hoping to influence and encourage their teeth brushing. LOL :-),” she tweeted.
Gum damage. According to an article on Mercola.com, even sugar-free gum is terrible for your teeth. You’re essentially “bathing your teeth in sugar” when you chew gum. So Sue’s strategy may have been hurting more than helping.
What have we learned? You've got to take care of your teeth or you're going to end up using chewed up coffee soaked gum to replace them. But more importantly, taking care of yourself is vital. Even if it scares you, make it a priority to get checked out, whether it be the doctor or the dentist, lest you end up on this show like Sue.