Betty McKenna’s mother always emphasized good dental hygiene.
And for listening to her mother, the 90-year-old Northport woman has been rewarded with a full set of her own teeth for her entire life.
On Wednesday, McKenna was celebrating the same achievement at the first luncheon in honor of the 80/20 Club, a group of elderly patients at a Huntington dentist office who have at least 20 of their own teeth.
“We’ve still got all of these,” she said, flashing a smile and gesturing across her mouth in a Vanna-White-like sweep of the hand. “That’s why we’re here. It’s a celebration.”
Huntington dentist Robert Matlach said one of the goals of his practice is to help people keep their own teeth for their entire life. So he wanted to celebrate those who had made a lifetime commitment to the same thing and so far succeeded.
“To have all of your teeth is just a great thing,” he said. “It shows a lifelong dedication to oral health.”
About 15 people turned up at the luncheon at F. H. Riley’s in Huntington, though he said 45 of his patients fit the criteria and were invited. He hopes to hold the event every year.
McKenna said the accomplishment comes at the hand of a lifetime of regular dentist visits, routine teeth cleaning, and the good sense of her mother, who would be very proud if she were around today.
Unlike some children, McKenna said she never had to be forced to visit the office because her dentist had a handsome son. Though she’s only been going to Matlach’s office for a few years, she doesn’t need to be forced into those appointments either.
“Now I have a dentist who is very, very charming,” she said.