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General Introduction






In todays society, people seek to be beautiful in all aspects of life. They present the best of themselves in terms of their social intelligence and the latest fashion, qualities that coincide with the popular saying that first impression last. As a result, inward beauty or just personality is belittled and/or replaced by an act to fit to a particular group or environment. The theme teeth discolouration is but one of the many physical appearances that cause immediate judgment, belittlement and/or ill treatment of persons affected. The aim of this research is therefore to provide information about the psychological and the social effects of teeth discolouration among student and how it affects their self-confidence, both academically and socially. Revealed information may also inspire youths to pursue Dentistry as a field of interest, maximizing efforts to minimize this issue. This area is of personal interest of mine as I witnessed bright, beautiful, high spirited personalities, destroyed because of social neglect and heinous remarks to victims of its dreadful conditions.

REFLECTION CHRONIC TEETH DISCOLOURATION AND ITS SOCIAL IMPACT ON INDIVIDUALS I was a smart, kind and well-loved individual who was a member of a middle class family from central Kingston. My family was very loving and strongly believed in the American way of living and so kisses on the mouth from visiting relatives were unavoidable. Personally, this was not an issue at first, being a girl, young and knowing that it was the norm; it didnt bothered me at all. But as I got older and this continued, something struck me. Apart from my immediate family who had very good oral hygiene, I realized that my other relatives, specifically our regular visitors, did not. They were suffering from serious cases of oral health problems like; gingivitis, periodontitis, gum disease, halitosis and the list goes on, so they would kiss me behind closed doors. This led me into a deep state of young consideration, (as I was only 8 years old) of the many oral contacts I had with them and about the many different kinds of bacteria that they so ignorantly contributed to my once sanctified mouth. This disturbed me terribly and as such, brushing my teeth regularly was not an option. At the end of grade six, I discovered changes in the appearance my teeth, they went from white to cream. I didnt think of it as any major problem, as

mother kept telling me that I had chalk teeth and thats the way theyre supposed to look, but overtime they changed to yellowish white, then to yellowish cream and then they were just plain solid yellow. Now this was no ordinary everyday yellow, this type of yellow was thick, gritty and polka dotted with little dark spots, and in between each tooth was a deep gold brown crust like colour, accompanied by soft bloody and what seemed to be rotten receding gums that slightly held the teeth in place. I was about 16 when my teeth got really bad and being a social person by nature, I loved talking and smiling. I realized however that this had to stop, because of the stage my mouth was in; even my friends started neglecting me. Theyd make up lame excuses not be seen anywhere with me and on top of that, the whole class whispered unkind remarks among themselves, point at me and laugh breathlessly. No one wanted to be seen speaking to me anymore, I now appeared alien to them. Some of the boys would even mock me, saying things like my gurl wid dih gaza face an dih gulley teeth! laughing vigorously. Even at home I was being verbally abused because of the discolouration of my teeth. My entire family started to treat me differently. They'd cook and give me the bottom of the pot and say, "Shirley, no bada feel no way man, a true we put the butta pan tap a de rice, an dat ago mek yuh teet get worse, we lef de batam fi yuh". I was

shattered inside, as I thought I was no more beautiful, smart or all the wonderful things I once was. I was now a walking Halloween mask. I understood now that I had no real friends, and to me, thats like having no life. I gradually moved to the back of the class and was feeling sorry for myself. Instead of listening to the teacher; I was thinking about my life, my future, will these problems ever be fixed? Can they be fixed? Will I ever have a husband? Does my life make sense anymore? Or should I just end it? These were the questions that haunted my mind, because apart from my yellow teeth, my breath reeked and it was as though a crack was in my face that caused the stench to diffuse out of my mouth maximizing the problem. So people could smell it from a mile away. This made them neglect and laugh at me even more. I felt useless and of no purpose. My grades went from an 'A+' to an 'F'. What seemed to have been a bright future for me was now a disaster, I felt lonely and suicidal. One day, on a routine trip to the dentist, I was finally told the cause of the outbreak. It was due to the many kisses I had obtain from my relatives which caused an infestation of the different types of bad bacteria to enter my mouth. These bacteria worked together assiduously, so regular brushing practices were futile. I was so upset and blamed my mother for everything. The dentist said

however that the condition could be fixed overtime by a specific practice, along with regular visits to the dentist. I felt terrific as this news brought a feeling of hope and a sigh of relief. It felt like seeing a ray of sunshine after years of stormy clouds and gray skies, something good at last. Or was it too late?


The reflective piece in this research seeks to magnify the seriousness of the numerous personal, social and emotional devastations which is as a result of the selected topic chronic teeth discolouration. This subtle case which seem more or less trivial, are sometimes known as the silent killers and is believed to turn ones sub consciousness against ones self. Information about this particular topic is geared to open the eyes of the young, old, male and females of all classes or creed of the multiple simple, often ignored unpleasant deeds done to victims of such imperfection. These actions are understated but hazardous to society, triggering severe side effects of highly emotional degradation to these individuals, damaging their self-esteem, their social life, and placing suicidal thoughts in their minds. Information (like the data in this research) therefore needs to be publicized through the media, newspapers and just about every broadcasting medium, informing the public on how to behave in the presence of such persons, in an effort to limit drastic cruel words and scorning non-verbal exploits that seeks to destroy and/or kill innocent victims of this threat and better stating prevention mechanisms.



Registers and communicative behaviours are two types of language communication portrayed in the reflection. Registers may be formal or informal language. Although not seen much in the reflective piece itself, communication between or among peers was strictly informal and is a part of the of the baselect form of the language continuum. This refers to creole spoken in its purest form. Two examples are: my gurl wid... and Shirley, nuh bada... This type of language carries different feelings and attitudes in both instances and when evaluated, conveys various messages. The language itself tells the reader about the speakers culture and how it was used tells the reader that both individuals are somewhat on the same level of youth. The boys comment tells the reader that he doesnt care about Shirleys feelings or about whether or not she would be hurt, but instead he skunked his fingers inside her wound, so to speak, making a mockery of her and causing further embarrassment. It could also suggest that hes ignorant of the damage caused by such comments behind closed doors and its impact.


The family members comment, however, could depict concern of not wanting the problem to be worse than it already was, but in a twist it could also be sarcasm, thus further mockery, depending on how it was interpreted by Shirley. Although not seen in the passage, formal language was predicted to be used in the form of consultative language between Shirley and the Dentist. The language used would have been Standard English which gives a feeling of integrity when used by the dentist, and being a professional, his comments brought a feeling of hope. Communicative behaviours are non-verbal communication which also shows attitude and feeling. An example of this is seen when Shirleys grades dropped from an A+ to an F and also when she moved to the back of the class. This tells the reader that everybodys comment impacted her, causing her to lose confidence both in herself and academically. It also portrays a feeling of neglect, and was also shown non-verbally when her friends started avoiding her.