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Day 244 Thanks to Dentists PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 22 December 2007
Wind NE 15 knots, Course SE, Speed 4 knots, Position: 41° 42 S, 29° 09 E


One of the health questions people have asked over the years is, “What are you going to do if you get a toothache?”  I've asked that same question to my dentists and basically there isn't much you can do. There is getting your teeth checked regularly, brush and floss well, don't eat too many sweets, and don't use your teeth as tools.  For a bad or broken tooth, we were given painkillers, antibiotics and several natural remedies.  We've discussed our medical issues and stores in an earlier blog before we left and we are prepared.  I've always said that I have been healthy and I've never been hurt, nor has any of my crew.  That is an excellent record considering I've been to Antarctica and on other long voyages mostly with inexperienced friends.  For my teeth I couldn't be so positive because I've had one cavity after the next.  During the almost ten years that I spent in NYC trying to get the expedition going, I had root canals, special tooth surgery, caps, and a bridge built.  Luckily, I was on land and had friends who were dentists.  Dr. Lehrer, Dr. Bouy, Dr. Marc, and Dr. Stern all took good care of me and showed me that they believed in the expedition.  I took them and their family and friends sailing over the years and gave them paintings, but without their good graces I would have been stuck and not so well taken care of as I am now.  They were also kind enough to take care of some of my crew's dental problems and Soanya had a thorough check-up before we left.


By coincidence, my original captain, Craige Fostvedt, who was just a teenager when we left Hawaii together for the south Pacific on his boat, returned to the U.S. and went to dental school to become a dentist.  He now has a practice in Hawaii and is still sailing.  I have also been thankful to him over the years.  Soanya and I could have stayed home in safety, but something indescribable, that people over the centuries have tried to put into words, drives us into the wild and insecure where we work and hope to survive and come back to the love of friends and society.


This is one more similarity we have with astronauts who will voyage into space for extended periods of time.  They will also have to deal with tooth issues.  Racing sailors saw the handles off their toothbrushes to save weight.  I suspect astronauts have very high tech nearly weightless toothbrushes, but how much toothpaste can they bring and do they spit into a vacuum?  We want to help fill those odd gaps that scientists may not think of.

Reid and Soanya
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