The Toothbrushing Story

So, if you happen to notice that I happen to get chided by several relatives in California about oral health care (particularly tooth brushing) then you’re undoubtedly curious as to why this it.  Actually, you probably could give a rip.  I’m going to explain it anyway.  Nobody is holding you in front of the screen showing you this, so you can stop reading now if graphic description of tooth decay, tooth brushing, or OCD behaviors upset you.

Who: Me

When: 1991-ish

Where: Philo, CA

What: Tooth brushing insanity

Why: There’s this story.

About the time I estimated above I was in California for a long summer stay at my grandparent’s and aunt and uncle’s place.  There was this odd feeling on one of my teeth that I was sure was the cavity of all cavities.  It sat there on the top of one of my molars calling out to me that I was a moron and didn’t brush enough.  My tongue would brush it over and over again in a nervous tick that wanted to see if it had gone away over night while sleep fixed my tooth.  Why does sleep fix teeth?  It doesn’t, but I was hopeful.

There was a long, thin crack running across the top of the molar that might as well have been the grand canyon in miniature.  My parents were going to be ticked because of the $5,000 in dental work this crack was going to cost them.  So to help prevent other multi-billion dollar molar repairs I began brushing.  Regularly.  For 5 minutes or so.  Several times a day.  Between meals.  Between my teeth.  Flossing irregularly compared to brushing but obsessing on the massive gap, wider than David Letterman’s front tooth gap, in my rear right molar.  I was prepared for some motorcycling stuntman to want to jump the massive span.  Must brush.

And so for weeks I brushed my teeth with a religious zealotry that could only be matched by fervent televangelists who just needed a few more million dollars to complete that mansion that “god wanted them to have.”  I was pretty sure God wanted me to have my teeth.  So I brushed them more.  All while being in California with my relatives.

A while later I went to the dentist with GREAT fear.  Worried that the cavity was going to be much worse than my estimated $5,000.00.  The hygienist looked at my teeth, cleaned them, made me swish fluoride around in my mouth – and then went to get the dentist.  I had an empty stomach, but had I not I think that my Jr. High bowels would have evacuated with fear of the impending doom.  Bring on the judge and jury to sentence my mouth to needles, Novocain, and numbness.

Alas, I had a plastic composite that had been used as a temporary stop-gap because I had a low spot in my molar.  By a dentist some time before.  It had warn out and was just ready to be replaced.  I had no cavity.  Zero dollars in repairs.

I didn’t brush my teeth for a week.

Just kidding, I brush my teeth daily whether they need it or not.

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