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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Hey all. I am on a yahoo group with Mephisto (for those of you who don't know, he is the guru of contemporary Fire Eating www.fyretr.com ). He recently had some issues related to Fire Eating, which he has been keeping us updated on.
Thinking it an important lesson, he wonderfully gave me permission to reprint his emails here. It is an important message for everyone into Fire Eating, who thinks it really is not all that bad. Regards and health- Pele

From Mephisto:
The bloating and aching in my eye, ear, nose, cheek, tongue, and lip are finally going away, leaving a tingling pin-prck feeling across my face. The novocaine is wearing off, at last, leaving in its place a very aching jaw. This afternoon I was lucky enough to get squeezed into the local dentist's, after a couple weeks of excruciating waves of pain. I'm now minus three more teeth, all three of them found to be abscessed. That's five teeth pulled so far, with more to be pulled in the near future. I still have a few that have broken off, flush with the gums, and one or two jagged ones that scratch my tongue and cheeks.

You think a toothache from a bad cavity hurts? Wait till you have
three or four abscesses at the same time, and see if the wall or
door frame is tougher than your head! Clove oil won't help, as the abscess is too deep for oil to reach. Your only remedy is a root canal, with plenty of digging, or extraction. -And hope you can get it before it drives you batty with pain.

There was a time, way back, when, with a handsome smile and a full set of strong, healthy teeth, this young man began what was to become a 35-year career of Fire Eating, adventure, and holding hot flaming torches between his teeth. Nothing to it, no pain... Not at that time, maybe.

Hairline cracks and other damage to the teeth are not immediately apparent, and it takes years before the teeth suddenly fall apart.
But eventually, it does happen. It's happened -and is happening- to me, and it'll happen to you, if you persist along my path. Once all of the teeth are gone, I often wonder what symptoms will hit me next? Cancer? Asthma? Emphysema? Some other long-smoldering disease?
Has it all been worth it? Sure, I've had many adventures and
experiences in my show business life. Are the memories worth the aches and pains we all suffer later in life? It's a tough question to answer, really. It's so easy to say I wouldn't change a thing.
It's also easy to say I should have done it differently. I should
have just been a lawyer (and maybe get shot dead by an angry
client). I should have been a high school English teacher (and fight with kids, parents, and the school board). I should have been a stand-up comic (and flop miserably!). All the should-haves and could-haves aside, this is what I "DID-have." It's what I've done and who I am, and what the heck am I preaching to YOU for??

<*the next morning-new email* >

Update for the tooth fairy:

After posting last night, and after the novocaine had totally worn
off, I started getting sharp pains in the three new holes in my
head. I quickly discovered that slushing tap water over the area
relieved the pain. But it would return at 3-5 minute intervals, till
5:30 this morning! This necessitated sleeping in a chair, glass of
water within quick reach, and a bath towel bib to catch a mouthful of water when I fell asleep on it!

The dentist had not given me any sort of pain-killer prescription,
and this was a first-ever, with three pulled at one sitting.
apparently, the blood clots sftened and came out, exposing the
nerves at the bottoms of the three holes. The water may have helped relieve the pain, but it just softened any new clots.

The things we can no longer do -The pain and expense we endure -Fire eating may not be totally to blame, and yet... each new experience tends to remind us old fogies of the fun times we had impressing others with our invicibility way back then...

-And to think there's people out there, all around us, who'd take
this stuff and teach it to kids...

<*next morning, another new email update*>

We called the local emergency room for advice at 1:30 a.m. and the nurse there was appalled that I'd taken 1,000 milligrams of ibuprofen. She said never to take more than 4 tablets at a time. 4 never work for me, but the nurse knows better, I guess. This time, those 5 tablets did nothing for it.

Yeah, stuff like this sets me to agonizing over whether it's all
been worth it, and I wish some of the young folks would look us old-timers in the mouth and honestly say the things they do today are worth the pain and suffering they can look forward to in the future.

I'm not looking for sympathy here, just wish it could be a lesson
and start somebody thinking...

-Meph
(BTW- I'm saving all those teeth that get pulled. Maybe I'll make a necklace or something out of them!)


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Sounds really bad.

Does he believe this was caused by fire-eating, or was it the fire-breathing?

And is this a one-off, or does it tend to happen to everyone who breathes/eats fire regularly over a long period of time?

I remember PK posting something on HOP about teeth damage some time back.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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~Leah~
GOLD Member since Sep 2004

~Leah~

addict
Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia

Total posts: 584
Posted:I always wanted to do Fire Breathing, but after doing my research on it for several weeks, I decided hell no! Thanks Pele. angel2

Never hold your farts in! They travel up your spine, go into your brain and that's where shitty idea's come from.

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Written by: onewheeldave


Sounds really bad.



Does he believe this was caused by fire-eating, or was it the fire-breathing?



And is this a one-off, or does it tend to happen to everyone who breathes/eats fire regularly over a long period of time?



I remember PK posting something on HOP about teeth damage some time back.





Dave, mostly Fire Eating but both. Gum decay and such comes from the fuels but the heat from Fire Eating weakens the enamel on the teeth, making them *much* weaker.



And it is not a one off. PK did post something about his teeth.

This email is actually part of a conversation between some of the old Sideshow greats that I do not expect many to have heard of. While I can not impart their names one is pretty much grinding up his food, the other has dentures and I know several others who teeth are barely there. They have been Fire Eating for awhile, and are counting their teeth on one hand. So it seems to be pretty consistent in those who have Fire Eating with the sideshows and circus' for a long period of time. Even many of the older Ren Faire performers that I know of, such as Mephisto, are in this boat.

But, I also know people in their early 30's who started Fire Eating in their 20's who are starting to have dental issues, and all attribute it to Fire Eating. Myself included. I have *never* had a cavity, and have always taken meticulous care of my teeth. In the past couple of years, small cavities, a couple of chips and my dental x-rays come back with little lines across my teeth and nothing has changed since I was little, except the Fire Eating.



No, it is not a one off. And after dental consultations, the only recomended way to avoid it is to not fire eat.

EDITED_BY: Pele (1122218586)


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13922
Posted:Yeah, it's not as immediately dangerous as breathing.

But it's also not an activity I recommend day in and day out.

And I *do* eat fire.

There's risk in everything.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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TinklePants
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr, Unit...

Total posts: 4217
Posted:My teeth are in really bad shape anyway. yes sugar is my demon. So after reading this, the only fire-eating I'll be doing (if I attempt it at all) is dousing birthday candles with my tongue!

Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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MikeIcon
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

MikeIcon

Pooh-Bah
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA

Total posts: 2109
Posted:Yes, I too know of the damage eating fire does to teeth... Mine have always been pretty bad but started getting MUCH worse once I started eating fire. I have stopped for the most part now due to this but plan to get back into it when my teeth have fallen out due to not brushing smile

I do wonder, however... Are torch holds the biggest threat here? I would suspect they are what heat the teeth the most since your teeth are coming in direct contact with the hot wick, fuel, and fire. Would your teeth still get so damaged if you eliminated torch holds and stuck to less extreme heat? I mean, I dont feel like my mouth is exposed to temperatures any higher than some of the food I eat when I just have the torch inside it (unless I screw up).


Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes.
We'll blaze a new trail,
and torch the rough patches.

-Me

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MikeIcon
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

MikeIcon

Pooh-Bah
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA

Total posts: 2109
Posted:Speaking of which, Im upset that I stopped eating fire because I recently thought of a new torch hold trick Id like to try. Lay on the ground, put the torch in your mouth and hold it in your teeth, then do a backwards summersault. Of course, this means your face will be above the flame at one point (ie very dangerous) but I think with the correct breathing techniques and a fast enough roll around that part of the trick could prove it possible.

Care to try it while youre still eating, Pele? smile


Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes.
We'll blaze a new trail,
and torch the rough patches.

-Me

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13922
Posted:tinkle, it also makes your eyes all woggly, I hear...

-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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FlameChild
SILVER Member since Jun 2002

FlameChild

Pyromantic
Location: Norway (Way way up North, on t...

Total posts: 136
Posted:Pele, wish Mephisto the best of luck..
His site and lessons taught me how to eat fire, and the crowd loves it.
I will honor his legacy..
At the age of 20 almost all my teeth have been replaced with porcelain, due to weak enamel from my fathers side. Yes, it is in the genes..
But I won't be biting in the torch again.. Tounge-transfer and regular fire-eating will do I guess..

Why does fire have to be such a health hazard.. frown frown


-= I am the god of Hell-fire =-
-= And I bring you......fire =-

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:ICoN the biggest legistic with any acrobatic and Fire Eating holds is the torch. They have to have mini-handles or other forms (fabric, telescoping).

And yes, it happens without teeth holds. One of the old guys hadn't heard of teeth holding. The combo of fire and fuel also creates decay under the gum-line. And the heat alone does crack the enamel. My dentist told me that a long time ago, and because the edges of my teeth chip easily told me to avoid super temperature hot foods as well (which I don't like so it was easy) wink .


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Sparklygreenfire


Sparklygreenfire

*Green Spirit*
Location: Southampton, England

Total posts: 201
Posted:Hmmmmmm...Scary! Glad I found this, have been seriously thinking of learning the art of Fire Eating. I'm having Belly Dance lessons and my teacher's travelled all over as a dancer, fire eater and illusionist. I thought that the odd bit of Fire Eating would add a lil something extra to my dancing...but after reading this I think I'll stick to Firefans and the odd bit of poi/staff. I value my smile...and I hate the dentists!! biggrin

Are you a robot...or an alien?

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Sparklygreenfire, there are so many other elements that add themselves more beautifully to bellydance than Fire Eating actually. Fans, palm flames, finger torches, some of the new "floating" wick elements, stuff like that.

lol

I'm not fond of dentists either but funnily enough mine loves me wink


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Sparklygreenfire


Sparklygreenfire

*Green Spirit*
Location: Southampton, England

Total posts: 201
Posted:Yeah, I love my fans, although stupidly I got really heavy ones so at present I'm leaving them well alone as I'm still suffering from a neck problem I've had since Christmas and lifting anything too heavy does my neck no favours at all. Still, It's getting better...I'm doing all sorts of exercises...and belly dance is helping loads, must be sorting my posture out! I've been looking at those palm flames...I remember seeing them in use last year and they're so nice. My toys are slowly growing...but I think I will most certainly be leaving the Fire Eating to someone else...not even sure I'd have the balls for it anyway lol ubblol
Thanx for your post! I hope your next trip to the dentist is a peaceful and painless one! biggrin


Are you a robot...or an alien?

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razedinflames
GOLD Member since Oct 2007

razedinflames

stranger
Location: , Australia

Total posts: 4
Posted:Reading about the future pitfalls of this delicate art has caused me to seriously consider the frequency of performing such feats. I value my teeth as much as the next critter but am not prepared to give up a part of myself for a part of myself. wink

I am however looking for more info on the risks of continued contact with fuels on the inside of the mouth. I know that our mouths will readily absorb many chemicals directly through the tissue especially underneath the tongue. Do these toxins get absorbed in dangerous amounts this way? Do they sit in the kidneys or liver or do they make their way back out of the body?

Thank ye kindly all!


"All things are interconnected... you just need to know which thread to pull to get the desired result"

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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:Originally Posted By: SparklygreenfireYeah, I love my fans, although stupidly I got really heavy ones so at present I'm leaving them well alone as I'm still suffering from a neck problem I've had since Christmas and lifting anything too heavy does my neck no favours at all. Still, It's getting better...I'm doing all sorts of exercises.

don't forget to do lots of wrist exercises, will help alot smile


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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railspinner


railspinner

journeyman
Location: canada

Total posts: 99
Posted:I wonder if this caused my teeth problems, im sure it definatly was a factor. When I first started fire eatting I practiced it deligently for over a year, trying to work on perfecting holding the vapours in my mouth to re ignite other torch's and whatnot, contact fire on my tongue, and teeth olds of burning torch's, then I gave it up for awhile.

I also don't brush my teeth often, and have been in quite a few fights where my jaw has taken some pretty hard hits. Over a two year period I had three rounds of abcessed teeth, and lost 5 teeth in total, although they were all mollars, not my front teeth that came in contact with flame heat, but they certainly came in contact with fuel.

I gotta say, don't eunderestimate the horror of abcessed teeth. The pain is undescribable, my worst which included my right upper wisdome teeth and the adjacent mollar was the worst pain I ever experienced, it also almost killed me because infected my jaw and the doctor and dentist said it was moving into my skull and sinuses. It was resistant to anti nbiotics, and it was the only pain I ever had that made me think about suicide. Im no stranger to pain, and am used to severe migraines. I don't reccomend "waiting for your teeth to fall out". It can kill you, and it's very very unpleasant to get an abcess on raw nerves in your teeth. I now make a olympian effort to floss, brush my teeth and use mouth wash, and even go for dentist checkups now and then if I can scrounge up the money.


The less people know the more they believe

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Another thing to add to the list of Reasons why firebreathing is bad for you.

Although, as hinted, it may be the not brushing often that would be the biggest factor. Maybe we should hit up the dental manufacturers for a mouthwash that rinses out petrochemicals... cool)

EDITED_BY: Charles (1227230464)


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Meanie


Snowplow


Total posts: 18
Posted:Originally Posted By: CharlesAnother thing to add to the list of Reasons why firebreathing is bad for you.

Although, as hinted, it may be the not brushing often that would be the biggest factor. Maybe we should hit up the dental manufacturers for a mouthwash that rinses out petrochemicals... cool)


The only sollution the dental manufacturers will find is putting more chemicals in the mouthwash, supposedly to clear out the other chemicals. Ever wondered why there is fluoride in almost every dental product available? wink


Fire + Idiot * wind - brains = Oops

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Actually Charles, this is primarily about Fire Eating, not breathing. wink

Since I started this thread 3 years ago, poor Meph is fairly well toothless.
I found that I don't have cavities (yay!) I just had baby teeth (yes, there were no adult teeth under them, so I just kept them all these years). The fire caused cracks in the baby teeth (heat fractures) which then had problems.

Long story short, I am now minus two baby teeth.
To get a bridge would cost more than it would be worth putting more heat in my mouth.

And when I was in Melb I had a chat with a friend who is suffereing bad enamel degradation from retentions. He's literally planning to be missing all of his teeth within the next 10 years, because this is all he knows.

Ahhhhh...the risks we take and the choices we make... beerchug

EDITED_BY: Pele (1227302471)


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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