Brush, but not too hard

Posted on April 30, 1999

There's nothing worse than people complaining about a product because it works too well.

For instance, there's glue. Try using that stuff that holds elephants from a trapeze by their teeth. If you accidentally glue the elephant's ear to the swing, the immobile animal will be stuck forever.

Another example is plastic wrap. You try to wrap something in it, but the stuff just clings together. Being persistent, you try to unwrap it. But the static forces that bind the universe won't allow a simple tug to do the trick.

A new item on the list is a toothbrush. Someone has finally found a disadvantage to a toothbrush. The Associated Press reported a man is suing dental cutlery manufacturers because he suffers from "toothbrush abrasion." This deficit occurs when one brushes too hard, so hard that the toothbrush actually becomes lodged in the pancreas.

As weird as it may sound, I can relate to the man. I have a confession to make.

I like to brush my teeth.

There really aren't a lot of legal things better than brushing your teeth. It's fairly easy to have clean teeth. Buy a toothbrush. Buy toothpaste. Get some water. Then brush the night away.

Brushing wasn't always such a fetish. It took my dentist, who is also my uncle, at least eight years to change my brushing habits. Only my cousin, a dentist's son, would confuse former pitcher Bob Tewksbury with a fictitious Bob Tooth Fairy. So maybe it was a joke, but still, it was better than my favorite, Andres Galagargle.

The American Dental Association recommends gentle brushing and a toothbrush with soft, polished bristles. In other words, don't try to clean your teeth with steel wool. Rushed brushing could cause receding gums and sensitive teeth, primary toothbrush abrasion symptoms.

It's hard to find the right toothbrush these days. I used to buy mine from a scalper, but his prices were just getting outrageous. I tried one of those things called a "pharmacy." The brushes in those stores are much better, especially because they've never been used. You can buy all types of hygienic products, in all colors as well.

Besides my dentist, only two people have ever given me a toothbrush. Little do they know the plastic toiletry was a prized possession. Another friend sent me floss, another great present. This could start a new operation — teeth-cleaning gift sets. Children and adults could pull a bottle of Scope from the Christmas stocking and be happy.

Just make sure you use the products properly. There's nothing worse than a toothless and tuskless elephant with glue in his mouth.