There seems to be a direct correlation between my age and the amount of time I spend on personal dental care.
When I was a kid, I paid virtually no attention to the need to brush my teeth. Back then, the only cavity-fighting implements were a toothbrush and a tube of Pepsodent. I ignored them, ate sugary cereals with reckless abandon, and ended up with a mouth full of metal fillings. As I matured, I slowly came to realize that getting my yap shot full of novacaine and having my teeth drilled down to the nerve level wasn’t much fun, and was expensive, besides — but the damage was done.
Over the years, new weapons have been added to the dental care arsenal. First it was the Water Pik, then dental floss, then tooth whitening strips, then tiny brushes to reach the “food traps” between your teeth. The most recent addition to my toothbrush holder is an odd, angled, double-ended brush with “inside” written on one end and “outside” on the other. You use it to sweep along the inside and outside of the gums along your back teeth, hoping to avoid deepening “pockets” back there. Every morning when I use it I inevitably think of Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard.
With each new dental care device, I spend more time in front of the bathroom mirror, fighting a desperate, rear-guard action against jawbone loss, retreating gum lines, and a mouth that reveals that I am, literally, long in the tooth. I wish I could say that my morning ablutions are a time of rich personal reflection, but they aren’t. As I proceed through my progression of brushes, flosses, picks, and rubber-tipped appliances, I hope only that my belated devotion to dental discipline will allow me to somehow avoid crushingly expensive crowns, implants, root canals, visits to oral surgeons, and other literally and economically painful fruits of my youthful dental indiscretions.