Well, I’m not one to get too personal when it comes to doctor or dentist visits but I was quite shocked to hear, after going a year without visiting the dentist due to my long adventure, that I didn’t just have one or two cavities but… No, I don’t think I can actually say the number. I’ll suffice it to say, I had 3 big cavities in need of attention now! A few more, could be “wait and see.” Does that mean, let’s see how much they decay further so busting out novacaine and the tortuous sounding drill is worth while? Maybe…
I blame it on Coca-Cola and my intense cravings for chocolate while I was in humid, hot climates of Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique. Coca- Cola is everywhere. Beyond excessive. Out of control. Coke has their signs and banners anywhere people will allow them. Everywhere. Schools apparently don’t mind because now they won’t need to spend money on materials to make a sign or a little restaurant who won’t have to buy tables, chairs, umbrellas or anything else Coke is willing to give for the sake of advertisement.
You think, how nice. It reduces the cost for people starting their own business or makes it easier for them. Maybe. But I know it’s coming at a price. Coke is ruthless. Their values lie in the lining of their pockets not at the health of all the consumers. As adults, we’re capable of making our own decisions. But what if you’ve never been educated regarding nutrition and health? At what point, does a bit of responsibility rely on a first world company whose reaping fortunes for supplying third world countries with tooth decaying sugary substances?
I’m educated and aware of what’s good and not so good to put in my body and yet I enjoyed a Coke or Fanta (and every other brand owned by Coke) almost everyday I was in Eastern Africa. If I’m aware of it’s not so healthy content and I’m still drinking, how can I expect the less informed and educated even think about it when they down their refreshing syrupy goodness. What’s worse is dental care is not as accessible as it is in the US. I imagine African folks aren’t making the connection of sugar in their drinks causing tooth decay, pain, or worse teeth falling out as the culprit. It must just be what happens. We live in a world today where we can live side by side or a world apart and think everyone knows what we know because of how and where we were raised and yet this can’t be further from the truth. Education isn’t guaranteed, it’s a priviledge.
I know this. I cringed every time I saw voluptuous mothers holding the glass bottle to their child’s lips, often too young to even speak or string sentences together. Yes, one, two, three, four year olds sipping soda. Could I blame them? Too many times I wanted to yank the bottle away and tell them how bad it was for the child but I remained mum. Who am I? Some Western gal who “thinks” she knows best yet is drinking it herself or will be later? Would my words just go unheard? It’s difficult to even consider Coke and all it’s sugary cravings being bad for you when you can turn your head and see an advert or a chair promoting coke. It must be good for you. So good for you, it’s everywhere and parents are giving it to their children.
Aside from children enjoying the sugar and caffeine and the dental decay that’s bound to happen, what’s slightly worse, I’ve become addicted. I dislike the company, their morals and ways of doing business but somehow find myself supporting them in the classic way. Instead of sipping out of a glass bottle (my favorite way to enjoy coke but likely not cleaned to first world standards), I’m ejoying it over ice or out of the can. I need caffeine and my coffee makes my stomach spin so I go into the store and ask for “One can of coke, please.” Cha- ching!