I’m a real anti-dentite.
I hate going to the dentist, the terrifying head mirrors, and the sound it makes when they scrape your teeth with metal. I hate how much it costs and that your teeth only hurt after their visits. And I hate how they talk to you and expect you to answer with a mouth full of hand. But that doesn’t mean I don’t brush my teeth. I even stick to the occasional daily washing and flossing regimen.
At least twice daily, I head into the bathroom, brush my little teethies until they sparkle, and then go about living the rest of my life. But now (or at least for the next week until I move) I have to take an added layer of precaution: investigating the brush for use by strangers.
You’re probably thinking my family members and I had some type of war where we used each other’s mouth cleaners on the toilet or dog. But that’s not what happened, and most of me wishes it was. Instead, I found out my sister and I had been using the same toothbrush. For months. Sure she lives at a satellite location and was therefore only there some of those days. But she was also there all summer, which is like three months of meshing gums.*
How it Happened
For weeks I nagged my whole family about the amount of toothbrushes we had. With four people, one of whom is only sometimes present, we had a bathroom with 12 active toothbrushes. (“Active” as in not those left for cleaning.) One was mine, meaning everyone else had 2.75 brushes. I quizzed them, asked whose was whose, receiving little to no enthusiasm. Until I finally grabbed all of the brushes from the bathroom, and made each person identify which was theirs. Cork Head grabbed two, my brother and Wonk each took one, and my sister, Hilde, said hers wasn’t present. She then walked into the bathroom, opened the cabinet, and grabbed MY toothbrush.
There was some jaw dropping, some confusion, some gagging noises, and questions, until we learned that we’d been sharing a tooth cleaner for some time.
“Mom bought that for me,” she said.
“No, I bought it for me.”
“I don’t know who put that green thing on it.”
“I put on that green thing, which I did when I bought it.”
“That green thing” was in fact a bristle cover; I used it to protect my toothbrush from getting gross (irony) since it lived in the cabinet. When there are 11 other brushes, good luck finding a home in a proper holder.
Then, she added, “I thought someone had used it the other day,” an event that prompted her to ask my mother to buy the house’s 13th version.
We argued for days about it, mostly because I knew I was right. And I don’t want to say that Hilde is kind of a ditz, so I won’t, I will only imply it. Using a toothbrush that isn’t yours is completely feasible in the mindset of someone who wonders whether toast should be buttered before or after it makes it into the toaster.
But how didn’t I notice? I wake up a solid four house before her, meaning I always used it first. And my gypsy lifestyle kept me on the road with my second, traveling toothbrush. Between the bustle and opposite sleeping cycles, the overlap never came up. That and the fact that I never thought to check for clues of simultaneous toothbrush ownership.
Today, my brand new toothbrush sits in its new green cover. This time with all three of my initials Sharpied to it, lest there be any confusion. As for the cleanliness of her current toothbrush, your guess is as good as hers.
* It likely wasn’t the same toothbrush that whole time; I do replace them.
The dental community tells me that most germs die off with the brush’s moisture. Though that doesn’t make me feel better.