IN THE OLD DAYS, PEOPLE USED to clean their teeth with a sharpened stick. That was all very well when you only had one tooth, and the bit you were attempting to remove was a shank of mutton. Nowadays, we have a greater selection of teeth and tools to clean them with.
Toothbrushes now come with cleverly angled heads that allow you to reach parts of your mouth you wouldn’t normally be able to reach if your fingers, hand and wrist were in a plaster cast. Moderate brushing up and down is fine but don’t overdo it. Your gums are quite sensitive, and if you brush too hard, you’ll push them back and end up looking like a sabre-toothed tiger.
Remember; you only really need a blob of toothpaste equivalent to a small pea, not the whole pod. If you use too much, you’ll end up looking like a rabid dog and be forced to spend at least half-an-hour spitting and rinsing before your mouth feels human again. On the other hand, if you suspect that you’re an old compost-breath, please feel free to use the whole tube.
Beware electric toothbrushes. The older models tend to have the same engine as pneumatic drills, and you have to brace yourself against the bathroom walls to stop yourself being shaken into the shower cubicle.
Dental floss is the most efficient way of transferring small particles of food from the back of your mouth to the front of your mirror. In order to floss efficiently, you need to be able to fit both hands entirely inside your mouth with additional room for a vigorous sawing action. Americans love flossing and have, over the years, evolved huge mouths to cope with this.
The British are still a bit suspicious of people with perfect teeth. If you have them under 40, you give the impression that you’re about to sell something, and if you have them over 40, you give the impression that you’ve just bought something (i.e. a new pair of teeth).
Cleaning your teeth is a pain, but it’s better than having bad breath, which is the closest most of us come to experiencing biological warfare. Trying to kiss someone with bad breath has a lot in common with trying to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a very old dishcloth.
One of the major disadvantages of sleeping with someone on a regular basis is that you end up doing your teeth at exactly the same time. Then you find yourself turning the tap on and off 500 times, headbutting each other, and spitting great dollops of toothpaste on the back of each other’s heads. This often leads to a demand for separate bathrooms, separate bedrooms, and finally separate lives. So think twice before brushing.
© GUY BROWNING IS AUTHOR OF ‘NEVER PUSH WHEN IT SAYS PULL’ AND CREATOR OF ‘TORTOISE IN LOVE’ (DVD) – USED BY PERMISSION.