Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • A Little Salt: Learning to brush again

  • Courier-Post columnist Danny Henley has to re-learn a new life skill.
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  • Considering what a baby I can be regarding trips to the dentist, even for the simplest of procedures like a cleaning, it’s probably best that my dentist has started scheduling appointments for both my wife and me at the same time, on the same day.
    Because such scheduling greatly enhances the odds that I won’t “forget” an appointment, it works out well for my dentist. However, having my bride, Nancy, in the next suite means there is far less that she doesn’t know about my checkup. I learned that lesson on my last trip to the dentist.
    As the hygienist was wrapping up her work on me, having found no sign of Tom or Huck inside my “cave,” she suggested I might consider investing in a power toothbrush.
    “Uh huh,” I replied.
    At this juncture of today’s column it’s important for me to explain one of my philosophies of life: Whenever I’m flat on my back with my mouth open, if someone holding a sharp instrument makes a suggestion of about any kind my response is 99.9999 percent of the time going to be “uh huh.”
    “Would you like to spend a winter in the Arctic living in a tent?”
    “Uh huh.”
    “Do you enjoy listening to rap music?”
    “Uh huh.”
    “Would you eat broccoli morning, noon and night for the rest of your life if I asked you to?"
    “Uh huh.”
    “Have you ever used your wife’s toothbrush to scrub the toilet bowl?”
    (Gulp!) “Uh huh.”
    You get the picture.
    As to whether or not I would have gone out and invested in a power toothbrush we’ll never know because as soon as the hygienist finished with me, she walked into the next room where Nancy was waiting. Now I don’t know if my need for a power toothbrush just happened to come up during casual conversation, or if the hygienist, maybe aware of my “uh huh” tendencies just automatically ratted me out, but I hadn’t been reunited with my bride for two minutes before she said, “I understand you need a power toothbrush.”
    By the time I got home for lunch that day a power toothbrush was waiting for me on the kitchen table.
    While I’ve been brushing my teeth for the better part of 58 years I quickly discovered that brushing with a power toothbrush is a whole new ballgame.
    I’d hardly figured out how to turn the device on when Nancy asked me how I liked it. While I don’t ride a motorcycle, I imagine the sensation of using a power toothbrush is not unlike the feeling a cyclist would have if while tooling down the highway at 65 mph he or she happened to yawn and while in mid-yawn took in a horsefly.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Well it sounds like a weed eater,” offered Nancy.
    While there may be more rules that a veteran power toothbrush user might be able to share, I quickly identified two.
    First, make sure the toothbrush is in your mouth before turning it on. I made that rookie mistake early on and found myself looking down at my entire wad of toothpaste in the sink bowl. While tempted for a fleeting moment to scrape up the toothpaste and continue on with my task, it occurred to me that I could not vouch for the sink’s state of cleanliness, so I got fresh toothpaste and started over, only this time putting it in my mouth first before pressing the “on” button.
    Second, I discovered I had to break an old habit of pacing around the house while brushing. Wandering away from the sink is not normally an issue with a manual toothbrush unless one happens to suddenly be hit with the urge to sneeze. However, with a power toothbrush I learned that one has maybe up to two minutes to prowl before drool thick with toothpaste begins to leak out. To my annoyance on more than one occasion I found the front of my shirt dampened with toothpaste-enriched drivel before learning my lesson.
    While I’m doing pretty well at learning to brush again, I’m already wondering what I might have to be retrained to do after my next trip to the dentist. Flossing?
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