I’m sorry, I can’t understand what you’re saying with my hand in your mouth…

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Consider the toothbrush.

Have you noticed how it has evolved in the last decade? It wasn’t too long ago that you had three choices, outside of the color, in your toothbrush selection: soft, medium and hard (bristles). Then, the most difficult decision was whether or not buying a purple toothbrush would be seen as a “gay” thing to do if you were a guy.

But today…well, today there are literally dozens of choices in toothbrushes. There’s ones with little rubber nubbies to clean your gums, there are some with the bristles in neat little circular patterns, presumably to appear more like an electric toothbrush. You have sonic toothbrushes that clean your mouth with sound and vibration–oooohhhh! Oh and let’s not forget that toothbrush innovation hasn’t stopped with the bristles. Nowadays, on the back side of the toothbrush you’ll find all kind of interesting little things that are designed to scour the inside of your cheeks as you brush.

Now, my personal favorite is the old Crest Reach toothbrush with a full-sized head made of medium bristles. You can’t find it today, but you can find similar models that contain its core details while eschewing newfangled additions such as swirlies.

I get that even toothbrushes must evolve, if only to support increasing the marketing budgets of the manufacturers. I mean, we simply can’t expect today’s youth to brush their teeth if we don’t provide them with “cool” tools. So I don’t really mind if the messaging around the new toothbrushes is a bit of a stretch. Do half as many swirly bristles really work as well as twice as many horizontal rows of bristles? I think not.

Therefore, I don’t mind being lied to by Johnson & Johnson, or whomever, but what I don’t get is why my dentist would lie to me…(it’s a logical jump folks…stick with me here….)

I recently had my teeth cleaned and as usual, “Your teeth are beautiful, blah blah blah.” In fact, they didn’t even take X-rays this time. So, imagine my surprise when a couple of days later as I’m shining a flashlight down my throat to count the number of puss-pockets on my tonsils from my sinus infection, that I find what appears to be the beginning of a very small cavity right smack on top of my back molar. Now, I’m no dentist but I think I can recognize a well-rounded hole in my tooth as a cavity. And I can’t for the life of me imagine that both my hygienist and the old feller (the dentist) would miss it when they poked their head in my head to look around.

The only thing I can think of is that it’s too small to do anything about right now, so they didn’t make a big deal of it. But isn’t that kinda like not telling someone they have an enlarged prostate? “Thanks for considering my mental health doc, but I’d really like to know if I’m prime for a colonoscopy.”

Perhaps I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, but since I haven’t had a cavity since I was 8, and the whole thing has become a bit of a source of pride for me, I’m only slightly less than devastated. Of course, in the grand scheme of things it’s a very minor thing for sure.

I guess between now and my next cleaning I’ll try out some of those newfangled toothbrush gizmos and see if they help me dig down into my molar crevasses (what a great pluralization!).


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