Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Confessions of a "Cloth in Mouth" phobic

I'm a great dental patient. From before I can even remember, I've been brushing at least twice a day. I started flossing daily some years ago and until I became a mother (and often passed out without the energy to groom myself in the least bit for an entire day) I continued this disgustingly perfect habit. I have fairly wonderful teeth to show for all of my diligent work. My mother had terrible teeth but she and my dad did a great job of instilling the importance of dental hygiene into my psyche.

Visiting the dentist never really caused me any stress. It was just something I did every six months. I had to show up, have someone mess around in there for a little while and then I'd get a glowing report of "Keep up the great work" from my dentist. *Please note that my family dentist became a family friend and even went hunting with my dad a few times. Now I've had to trade that family dentist-a person who knew me a child and also knew me back when I had a family-in for the family dentist of my husband. Don't get me wrong, he's a sweet guy and I like him. But each time I walk into the office, I feel a little bit of resentment because it's like taking one step further away from any connection to my past. Odd, I know.* I've never really understood the anxiety so many people feel about dental check ups. Perhaps it's because I've never had to sit through invasive root canals or torturous pullings. For what it's worth, the soft music is always lost on me (although I do owe my love of Christopher Cross and Barry Mannilow to those dentist visits during my early high school years, I believe.) I've simply never been able to relate to any of the horror stories that people tell about their dentists... until today.

Today I visited the dentist for my six month cleaning, like the good little health nerd that I am, and I was sadly indoctrinated into the school of fearing one's dental hygienist. It really wasn't her fault, I guess. I swear in the 26 or so years I've been having my teeth cleaned, no one has EVER put gauze in my mouth. For some reason, out of no where, I'm laying there, enjoying the peace and quiet away from my children when suddenly there is a giant piece of gauzy fabric being swiped along my gums. HOLY CRAP, SOMEONE GET IT OUT OF THERE. I almost lost it. I seriously thought I was going to have to be removed from the chair. I kept my cool. I didn't say anything at first. But I guess she could sense my discomfort, and as she removed the gauze from my mouth, she started to ask me about Artsy Mamas. Well, I couldn't answer her. I had to go into this long apology speech about how I'm a nut job and that I cannot and will not tolerate cloth in or near my mouth or anyone else's for that matter.

That's right folks. I have a phobia of cloth in the mouth. Note I said "the" instead of "my". That's because my phobia goes beyond my own personal distaste for cloth in my own personal mouth. Uh huh. I cannot and will not tolerate cloth anywhere near your mouth either. I don't care who you are, get that piece of fabric far away from your mouth immediately.

The worst is terry cloth. I cannot own a terry cloth robe for the simple fact that one day it might end up near my mouth. I might hit my teeth on it. This would be unacceptable. My fingers ache when I touch warm towels... and then my jaws start to hurt and then I have to just drop the stupid things.

And little kids. Some kids suck on cloth. Like the necks of their shirts. And blankets. The kid who stays with us puts his blanket in his mouth. I have to leave the room rather than watch him do this reprehensible behavior. Donut tried to take up this habit... I put a stop to it immediately because I'd hate to have to send her up the river to live with the other crazy cloth in mouth people.

You think I'm joking don't you? You think I'm at least exaggerating. I'm totally serious. I've learned to control it a little more (ie, hold it inside while my brain is about to explode). When I was about 17, old boy friend and closest thing I ever had to a sister neighbor held me down and stuffed my underwear in my mouth. I'm not proud of this memory... but scarred for life as a result.

My mom had the same quirk. I knew I had this problem for years before I mentioned it to her. She looked at me and said that she had it too. I guess she thought it was normal... all people feared cloth in their mouth. But apparently it's not normal. I googled it. I found nothing. It's too bad I can't get a diagnosis. Maybe I should create my own support group. For me and my dead mother.
Zemanta Pixie


  1. NO, it freaks me out too...I get all, there's a diagnosis. You have clostrophobia. LOL Love you're writing girly...gosh..we are talented with some great writers amongst our friends aren't we?

  2. You mean clothsterphobic? LOL. I like that. I'm going to use it. Thanks for the compliment on my writing, Jen. I love to write.

  3. You are a VERY talented writer!!! I love the way you held my interest through your entire post, AWESOME!

    Thanks for the vote! As soon as I figure out how to change my blogroll, I will SOOO add you to it! I started looking tonight but haven't finished figuring it out!

    I am selling shirts, this is the only income I think I can do at home and I think they are turning out pretty neat! I am going to start a blog JUST showing the shirts.

  4. Tee hee. I will now think of you every time Rosemary sticks her Ducky in her mouth. It would actually creep me out if it was something she did all the time, but she only really does it when she's teething. I'm OK with that.

    *Kate at


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