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32-Year-Old Man Forced to Live on Liquid and Mushy Food After Love of Fizzy Drinks Leaves Him Almost Toothless

A young Irish man whose teeth had almost rotted away completely due to his addiction to sweet fizzy drinks has recently been gifted a brand new smile by a dentist who noticed his excruciating pain when trying to take a bite from a sandwich.

Michael Sheridan, a father-of-three from Ashbourne, has endured constant pain for years and has had to live on a diet of soft foods as biting into anything solid caused him excruciating pain. He attributes his poor dental health to his addiction to fizzy drinks, of which he would drink up to six liters a day. Sheridan’s addiction was so severe that he would experience headaches and shakiness if he didn’t have a fizzy drink within half an hour of waking up every day. As his teeth began to rot, he would lay awake most nights in agony from toothaches. Over time he grew ashamed of his teeth and would hide his smile from even his partner and children.

Photo: Meath Chronicle video screengrab

“I was ashamed and embarrassed and got used to hiding them. I was able to talk and smile without showing my teeth,” Sheridan told the Independent. “My speech was muffled because I was nearly not opening my mouth when I was talking. For Christmas morning photos, everyone looked happy, just not me because I wouldn’t smile for the photos even though I was happy.”

Sheridan claims he didn’t know it was his love of fizzy drinks that caused his teeth to rot, at least not in the beginning. or even that he had become addicted to them.  He says he knew it didn’t help, but figured it was no more harmful than someone else’s morning cup of coffee.

“It took a couple of years before I realized I was addicted. Most mornings I’d go straight to the fridge and get a drink,” he said. “Within a half an hour of getting up, I’d have the shakes, I’d be sweating, I’d get headaches if I didn’t have a fizzy drink. It’s not a common addiction. If you see an alcoholic, you know they’re drunk, but if someone’s carrying a bottle of fizzy drink on the street, you don’t assume it’s a big addiction. It’s just considered normal.”

Photo: Meath Chronicle video screengrab

Things took a turn for the better recently when dentist Dr. David Murnaghan, who knew Sheridan through the Drogheda Waterpolo club, took notice of the problem. When they were both traveling to a match in Galway one day, Dr. Murnaghan saw Sheridan wince in pain as he bit into a sandwich.

“I knew Michael through water polo but didn’t know him well enough to talk to him about his teeth.” Dr. Murnaghan told the Irish Examiner. “It was only during a car-share trip to Galway that the subject came up and I told Michael to come and see me for a proper consultation. I knew his teeth meant a serious threat to his health. He couldn’t chew his food properly, he couldn’t bite into a sandwich like most people, and he is in pain every day. The Government is not pushing that side of health education; currently, it’s more about alcohol and smoking, but oral health is very, very important and many Irish people don’t go to the dentist enough for regular checks.”

It took Sheridan almost a year to gather enough confidence to arrange the appointment, which took place last November. Dr. Murnaghan offered to waive the typical costs of up to €50,000 for implant treatment on the condition that Sheridan gives up fizzy drinks. Last week he visited Boyne Dental & Implant Clinic where he had all 27 of his teeth removed in one sitting. He is now wearing removable dentures.

Photo: Meath Chronicle video screengrab

“I was two hours in the chair under local anesthetic. It was uncomfortable but not that painful. I’ve been walking around in constant pain for ten years, so this was nothing,” Sheridan said of the procedure. In April Sheridan will return to the clinic to get twelve implants inserted into his jawbone. Bridges will also be attached to these to give him his new permanent smile.

“I’d still be like that today if David hadn’t helped me, there wasn’t really an option. It was going to be €120 to get a tooth removed; I needed 27 removed. That’s just to get them out,” Sheridan said to the Independent. “I nearly look at it that he’s performing a miracle for me. What he’s done, it’s more than a year’s wages for me.”

“Linda and my whole family are delighted. I’m delighted, and it’s all down to David and his staff at Boyne Dental & Implant Clinic to whom I say a huge thanks,” he added. “I keep looking at myself in the mirror and can’t believe it’s me.”

Sheridan hasn’t had a fizzy drink since undergoing the procedure and decided to go public with his story to warn others of the dangers of neglect and sugar to your teeth.