Summary and Analysis of Oh I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth by Pam Ayres

Pam Ayres was born on 14th March 1947 at Berkshire, England. She is an English poet, songwriter, comedian, radio and television presenter.

In “Oh, I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth”, the poet Pam Ayres expresses her anguish over her decayed teeth and cavities. She regrets over the fact that she kept on eating both hard and soft sweets of all kinds. She says that she never noticed the decay while she brushed her teeth yet the conclusion was decayed teeth. The poem is in a form of warning to children who eat too many sweets.

Read more about the poem, the poet and annotations


Summary of Oh I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth

The poem begins with a regret from the poet who wishes that she had cared for her teeth when she had been eating too many toffees, sweet sticky food and gobstoppers. She wishes that she had taken care of her teeth and had spotted the perils under it while brushing. She also wishes that she had more tooth than filling and she had bought something harmless with her money apart from the sweets.

When the poet thinks of the lollies, candies, tiny sweets, peanuts her conscience is punched due to repentance. She feels sorry for herself that she did not give up eating those sweets although she brushed regularly and checked for decays. Because of the sweets, she has to now undergo injections, drills and fillings which are very painful and terrifying.

The narrator shows her teeth to her mother. Her mother tells her that having a tooth is equal to having a friend. The narrator did not take her mother’s advice. She never had enough time and she never took care of her teeth or her toothbrush.

The narrator tells that she showed the toothpaste to her teeth. She brushed them up and down and checked them carefully and found out that she was able to eat and bite.
The narrator regrets thinking if she had known before that by eating so many sweets and ignoring her teeth, she was making a way for cavities, caps and decay and causing the use of injections, drills and fillings, she would have thrown away all the sweets.

Pam Ayres had to go to the dentist for drilling, fillings etc. She sat in the dentist’s chair in distress while the doctor did her drilling into her mouth. She can hear the drilling sound while the dentist works on her molars. He says that he would have to carry out two amalgams in them.
The narrator finally ends her poem by saying that she had once laughed at her mother’s false teeth as they were foamed for cleaning. But is it now the time for her to wear the same and wishes very much she had taken care after her teeth. Follow this link for a more detailed line by line summary

Word- Meanings:

perils- danger
Gobstoppers- a large, hard sweet
Choppers- teeth
shillin’- shilling, currency
Sherbet dabs- tiny sweets
Peanut brittle- easily breakable peanut
conscience- soul, consciousness
pricked- pierce, punch
pokin’ and fussin’- checking carefully
whine- high pitched sound
molars- teeth at the back of the jaw
amalgam- filling made of mercury and silver

Critical Analysis of Oh! I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth

Theme and Tone of Oh! I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth

Explain the following phrases briefly:
1. “I showed them the toothpaste alright”
The poet did not brush her teeth but showed the toothpaste to her teeth. It is ironical that she brushed her teeth casually with a view to deceive herself that she had brushed them. There was no effect of this kind of brushing and therefore, she developed decay and cavities.

2. “But now comes the reckoning.”
The poet once laughed at her mother’s false teeth. But now she has to pay for making fun of laughing in the form of tooth decay.

3. “If you got a tooth, you got a friend”
These words are spoken by the poet’s mother. It means that when a new tooth is formed, it becomes our friend. Earlier, the mouth was ‘friendless’ without teeth. Now it is not so. Also the tooth is like a friend as it helps in chewing and savoring.

4.On the basis of your understanding of the poem, answer the following questions by choosing the right option:
1. The title ‘Oh I wish I’d looked after me teeth’ expresses:
a. regret b. humour c. longing d. pleasure

2. The conscience of the speaker pricks her as she has:
a. been careless b. been ignorant c. been fun-loving d. been rude

3. The speaker says that she has paved the way for cavities and decay by:
a. eating the wrong food and not brushing
b. not listening to her mother
c. laughing at her mother’s teeth
d. not listening to the dentist

4. The tone of the narrator is one of:
a. joy b. nostalgia c. regret d. sorrow

Answers: 1. a, 2. a, 3.a, 4.c

5. What is Pam Ayres’ view on dental hygiene? What message does she convey to children through her poem, “Oh, I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth?”


Search this site

Through her poem, “Oh, I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth”, Pam Ayres tell us that we must take proper care of our dental hygiene. We should not eat too many sweets and too much sweet lead to cavities. Consequently, we have to go through dental pain which is terrible while getting our teeth filled up.
The whole poem expresses this idea in a humorous way. It advises children against too much ‘lolly licking and toffee chewing.’ The message that ‘teeth once gone can never be gained’ is conveyed through this poem and is explained convincingly by the mention of ‘false teeth’ used by the poet’s mother.

Trisha

I have done my M.A in English andI love reading good books and sharing knowledge with others. Thanks for appreciating.

37 Comments
  1. Reply
    sparsh gupta December 30, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    It helped me a lot..and. .I learned. And understood..the. Meaning of the poem..very thouroghly.thnx..for..such a nice…summary

    • Reply
      Keshav December 8, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      Duck you thanks a ton

    • Reply
      Anurag November 19, 2016 at 12:47 am

      Thank you for giving me this opportunity to learn many things

    • Reply
      Amy March 16, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      Yup I agree

    • Reply
      samar January 26, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      what is the proverb that conveys the message that this poem carries??
      jaldi answer bhej….

      • Reply
        sasha October 11, 2016 at 7:07 pm

        “Prevention is better than cure.”

    • Reply
      richa gupta December 21, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      I agree your comment

    • Reply
      vicky rocky November 23, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      good nice

  2. Reply
    hello February 1, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Thankyou so much :’). It did help a lot

    • Reply
      Dikchen gooroong Rawan November 25, 2015 at 9:12 am

      I realy giving thank you from my heart to you and i got clear what is message here

  3. Reply
    Siddhi Subhasaya February 12, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Bravo! The summary is helping me to be well prepared for my annual exams of class 9.Best of luck to me and the writer of this summary.

  4. Reply
    Ankush October 2, 2015 at 8:48 am

    It helps me a lot

  5. Reply
    arsalan khan October 26, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    nice poem….!!

  6. Reply
    arsalan khan October 26, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    nice poem…..!!

  7. Reply
    Andrea November 7, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Thanks a ton…….Really helped a lot…..

  8. Reply
    Disha purohit November 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Superb

  9. Reply
    Disha purohit November 22, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for giving such a good message

  10. Reply
    kumari November 24, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Not so good*

  11. Reply
    vaibhav November 28, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    it was really helpful ,all thx to the summary writer .

  12. Reply
    mysterious December 2, 2015 at 9:14 am

    awasome sammary it helped me a lot. please post other chapters too

  13. Reply
    sneha shelar December 2, 2015 at 11:21 am

    i liked this summary. it really helped me for my exams.

  14. Reply
    arush raj December 6, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Thank you sooo….. Much. It really helped me…..

  15. Reply
    Dhananjay December 8, 2015 at 2:58 am

    It’s cool &thanks for the meanings

  16. Reply
    divya December 14, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Awesome!!i realyy lied it.it helped me a lot…..thank u👍🏻

  17. Reply
    Faizaan January 13, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    It was really help full, and I really hope I’ll pass with flying colors in English . such a good way of expressing the poem

  18. Reply
    mahi January 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Thaxs….it helpd me a lot…
    The meang is explad very ncly…
    Again thaxz

  19. Reply
    steve January 19, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    nice!!!!

  20. Reply
    suman January 22, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Suman chettri
    Thank you….these summary help me a lot

  21. Reply
    Evelyn February 9, 2016 at 4:36 am

    this is amazing i just luved this sum. i read this just b4 goin to examz, too lazy to read the bk(of course). and i did EPIC for the exam especially for this chap, i didnt hve to read the question twice and then spend half an hr tryin to think what the hell to write cuz i was thorough with this chap(only). I luv u and plz do write summaries of alll poems in 9th and 10th cbse ncert. i wld be soo happy. thnx loads!!!!

  22. Reply
    gauri February 22, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    The summery helped me a lot to understand the poem. It was great!

  23. Reply
    Heyo mayo March 10, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    The summary was really helpful. Hope to read more brilliantly written summaries which will help me do well during my examinations. Thank you so much. Cheers!
    – V x

  24. Reply
    Marwa March 14, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    This is really the first time I’m commenting on sites, but can’t stop myself from appreciating the hard work done by the editor. Thank you so much for the help and please continue this great job !!!
    Good luck

  25. Reply
    Amy March 16, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    It helped me a lot . I searched many websites but couldn’t find as interesting as this . I couldn’t have understood this lesson without this . Thank you . 😃😃👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  26. Reply
    Soyansu November 25, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    It really helped me a lot

  27. Reply
    ganesh November 26, 2016 at 1:44 am

    I understand these poem by reading these so I wish all to rea
    d

  28. Reply
    Sthitika Sthitaprajna November 28, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    I want to improve my English but I can’t. How can I improve my English?

Leave a reply