Father needs chew­ing out over gum dis­ease.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES - Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. To re­ceive a col­lec­tion of Abby’s most mem­o­rable –

DEAR ABBY: My hus­band has de­vel­oped a bad case of pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease. I’m afraid to kiss him be­cause I don’t want the bac­te­ria caus­ing the dis­ease to spread and his bad breath is un­bear­able. Our sex life is suf­fer­ing be­cause of it.

We have two beau­ti­ful chil­dren to­gether, and I love him very much — even if he loses all his teeth at the age of 37. I have ex­plained how ex­tremely im­por­tant oral hygiene is to over­all health, es­pe­cially heart health, and how his un­will­ing­ness to deal with this sends the wrong mes­sage to our kids.

He sim­ply re­fuses or con­ve­niently “for­gets.” When I asked him why, he said his mother trau­ma­tized him about it as a child.

My chil­dren are start­ing to take no­tice now. My daugh­ter doesn’t want to go near him, and my son thinks it’s OK to not brush his teeth be­cause his father doesn’t.

As you can see, this is dis­rupt­ing our fam­ily. What kind of ad­vice could I give him to get him to start tak­ing care of his mouth? – WIT’S END IN FLORIDA

DEAR WIT’S END: That your son is mod­el­ing his be­hav­ior af­ter his father is ter­ri­ble. There are psy­chol­o­gists who help pa­tients over­come pho­bias and den­tists who spe­cial­ize in pa­tients with your hus­band’s prob­lem. If nec­es­sary, den­tal work can be done un­der com­plete se­da­tion.

If your hus­band would be will­ing to lis­ten to your fam­ily doc­tor or the chil­dren’s pe­di­a­tri­cian, per­haps one of them can get through to him the im­por­tance of con­quer­ing his fear be­fore it causes last­ing dam­age to the next gen­er­a­tion.

DEAR ABBY: I re­cently be­gan a re­la­tion­ship with a won­der­ful man I’ll call “Ed­ward.” He’s smart, suc­cess­ful, sweet and has a won­der­ful sense of hu­mor. I adore him and can see my­self spend­ing many happy years, if not for­ever, with him.

The prob­lem is my par­ents. I’m 24 and a re­cent col­lege grad­u­ate. I have a good job and have been liv­ing in­de­pen­dently since I was 19. Ed­ward is 31, di­vorced and has two kids (ages 5 and 8). Be­cause of his kids and mar­i­tal sta­tus, my par­ents refuse to even meet him. They claim I’m mak­ing a ter­ri­ble mis­take be­ing in­volved with some­one with so much “bag­gage.”

I am very close to my par­ents, and their re­ac­tion is hurt­ful. This is the hap­pi­est I have been in a long time in a re­la­tion­ship, maybe ever. Nei­ther Ed­ward’s kids nor the fact that he’s di­vorced is an is­sue for me. I’ve met his chil­dren and en­joy spend­ing time with them. He has a civil re­la­tion­ship with his ex-wife, who also has a new part­ner.

Do you think my par­ents’ re­ac­tion is fair? Do you think in time they’ll come around? – BIT­TER­SWEET IN LOVE IN MICHI­GAN

DEAR BIT­TER­SWEET: Whether your par­ents’ re­ac­tion is fair or not is be­side the point. Their feel­ings are their feel­ings. The re­la­tion­ship you have with Ed­ward is new, and where it may lead is any­body’s guess. If it lasts, your par­ents may come around. But as an adult, the choice of whom you date or will one day marry should be yours and no one else’s.

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