Dental hygienist makes her New Year’s resolutions
By Noel Kelsch, Special to The Star
January 1, 2007
“Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. By visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”
— Ann Roulac, author “Power, Passion and Purpose: 7 Steps to Energizing Your Life”
When I was 16, for my New Year’s resolution, I wrote a list of the 100 things I wanted to do in my life before I turned the ancient age of 40.
Some of my dreams were small, simple things: sleep under the stars at the end of the Ventura Pier, invent a recipe, watch a child come into the world, build a playhouse for kids. Other dreams seemed insurmountable: surfing the shores of Hawaii and climbing the Great Wall of China, backpacking through Europe and starting my own comic strip.
Years went by, and I often checked the list for the things I had accomplished. 1976 included parachuting from a plane, standing in three states at once and touching in the dead center of the Golden Gate Bridge. Then, 1979 gave me the chance to see a baby born, learn to basket weave and do a good deed with no one knowing. In the ’80s, I rocked babies addicted to drugs, planted poppy seeds on a barren highway and met someone else named Noel.
In 1997, I was digging through the family filing system called “the junk drawer,” and among a broken radio, paper clips, diaper pins and bubbles was a folded piece of paper that I immediately recognized. I read through the goals and realized that my list was almost complete. I had done 97 of the 100 that I had set out to do. Insurmountable tasks became the catalyst to develop perseverance, and with that came the opportunity to put wings on each dream. The possibilities seemed limitless.
In 1997, I turned 40 years old, backpacked across Europe with my husband and rode a horse on the beach at sunset. That left just one thing in my way — the Great Wall of China.
Setting goals and making New Year’s resolutions can be a waste of time if we don’t understand that goals are process. Being a dental hygienist, I see so many patients who want oral health but don’t know what goals they need to obtain it.
Each of the goals on my list had to be first chosen with care. Second, I had to keep the list in the back of my mind and find a way to make that which was once impossible possible. Third, I had to take it one goal at a time. Each oral health habit will get you one step closer to being healthy.
As part of your New Year’s resolution, I would like to remind you of a few things that you may want to consider for your health and well-being. Oral health has been linked to systemic health. The bacteria floating around in your mouth can go to the heart, liver and kidneys; you can even breathe it in and have it affect your lungs!
I need to now admit something (please don’t tell anyone). I hate to floss! There is no right or wrong way for keeping your teeth clean as long as you’re not cleaning them with damaging products.
Here are some simple alternatives to flossing:
1. Xylitol gum (kills bacteria, prevents decay and periodontal disease).
2. Plastic toothpicks (a lot easier to use for large hands).
3. Rubber-tip stimulator (used to be on the end of the toothbrush).
4. Water pick (disrupts activity of bacteria).
5. Proxy brushes with antibacterial products on the bristles (fits between the teeth).
6. Move the items that you are hiding in the bathroom drawer into the shower or in front of the TV where you are more likely to use them.
You may be wondering, did she ever finish that climb?
Well, 2001 gave me the opportunity to conquer the Great Wall!
I now have a new list, and I am conquering it one goal at a time.
— Noel Kelsch is a registered dental hygienist and vice president of the California Dental Hygienists Association. She is a frequent lecturer on topics ranging from “Infection Control, Naval Contemplation” to methamphetamine addiction and oral health. She is a volunteer and trustee at the Simi Valley Free Clinic and works for Dr. Steven Kaminsky in Simi Valley as a registered dental hygienist and for RDH magazine as a cartoonist and writer. She and her husband, Dave, have four children and live in Moorpark