Every night Gail hollers up the stairs, "teeth for three minutes, every tooth. I will inspect them. Then off to bed."
Gail dutifully goes up the stairs and checks The Youngest's gnashers which usually pass with flying colours and then she braces herself before entering The Teenagers lair. Every night is the same,
"I need to see them."
"Why don't you trust me?"
"Because you have fillings, and are bone bloody idle and your toothbrush is dry."
"It's so unfair.....etc etc"
"I'm telling you now if we go to the dentist and you get another filling I will ban all sugar from your life."
"You have already."
"It's in fucking bread," Gail doesn't actually swear but mentally she does. The Teenager is a bit of a pickle when it comes to food and very much enjoys bread based products. Gail worries that is she does remove bread from the family diet The Teenager may well starve to death. "You'll be on onion soup my friend," she adds for extra impact.
The Teenager still refuses to have an oral hygiene check performed and Gail wonders how the bloke from The Pogues manages with his mouthful of burnt chips.
"It's a shame," says Gail, "you're nice looking but it'll be a deal breaker, no one will go out with you if you have summer teeth*. Don't say I didn't warn you."
*summer teeth - some are green some are black
So weeks go by and then the trip to the dentist that Gail dreads and The Teenager doesn't give a shit about. The Youngest goes first just so Gail can prove to the dentist that she is capable of rearing one clean person.
As The Teenager slumps into the dentist's chair Gail's stomach tightens, like she's waiting for a roller coaster to start.
"Mmmm," says the dentist repeatedly.
Then after much mmming and whizzy brushing the dentist turns to Gail to explain good brushing technique. Gail smiles and even thanks the dentist for the good advice, the whole while looking at The Teenager and telepathically sending 'just wait until we're in the car because I've got a few choice words for you' vibes.
Fortunately for The Teenager nothing is required on this visit and The Teenager light foots it out of the chair.
"You worry too much Mum," smiles The Teenager and pats Gail on the head. The Teenager can see the fury in Gail's face and laughs before replacing the earphones that are worn as readily as skin.
Gail is left to stew. It's not a button of wonder that Gail swears and drinks too much. Gail pours all the apple juice down the sink because everyone except The Teenager are happier with a cuppa in the mornings anyway.