Oral Hygiene

The other day while I was tidying up my 5-year-old’s untidy-able room, I came across a decorated plastic box. Intrigued, I opened it to find dozens of multi-colored flossers, all sorted according to hue. When I asked my son what this was, he nonchalantly told me it was just his collection. I had recently been impressed by his interest in and dedication to oral hygiene. I had even considered spending more time on my own (non-existent) flossing routine so as not to be shown up by my kindergartner. But now I understood. This wasn’t about hygiene. This was about hoarding! A task that I had, indeed, been disciplined about and modeled for my son. “Don’t worry, Mommy. I wash them first,” he assured me. And so, the natural order of the universe remains in tact…

I’ve been shamed. Terribly. By my dentist. And given my obsessive need to please figures of authority (and yes, obviously a dentist is an authority figure. Don’t tell me those “tools” they use aren’t weapons and that you’re not at your most vulnerable lying there with those greasy plastic sunglasses that were probably purchased in the 90s, blocking out that rainbow light, mouth open, trying not to swallow your own spit, and willing yourself to be cavity free so you can lord it over your husband who thinks his oral hygiene is oh-so-good but who recently had to have his first filling.), I have been able to think of little else but how epically disappointing I am to my dentist. I don’t have a cavity. So honestly, I’m not sure why this story doesn’t end here. And of course I lied to her when she asked if I floss – come on! I have 3 kids! But I never expected her to stop mid-cleaning and announce that there was nothing more she could do until I spent a month flossing every day. So, yes, I’ve been ending my evenings with a strict regime of brushing, flossing, water-picking and mouth-washing. Which, all in, takes about 10 min. Which is 3,650 min/year. Which, I assume thought don’t feel like doing the math, is a certain number of DAYS. And am I really going to spend this not insignificant chunk of my life standing over the sink waiting for the electric toothbrush to signal I can move on to the top row of teeth? You bet! Because nothing is more important than impressing those in power.

Published by imworriedmytherapisthatesme

I'm a history-PhD-turned-stay-at-home-mom of three. When I'm not microwaving Trader Joe's meals for my kids, breaking up fights and wiping butts, I like to paint and write. To cope with the endless hours I'm spending with my son doing virtual school, I've abandoned my gouache paints for the more portable, less messy tried but true, paper and ink. While he learns to read to 20 floating heads on his screen, I sit on a tiny chair, at a tiny table pretending to be a productive adult.

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