The last time I went to the dentist, I heard those three magic words: just a clean.
But it was not always this way. On the contrary, I was once told I needed no fewer than six fillings. And practically the first time I visited a dentist without needing fillings, it was time for… a root canal.
I credit P.G. Wodehouse with the change in my fortunes. (And flossing. Always floss.)
Dentists are always telling people to make sure they brush thoroughly, and not to rush it – a good two minutes is advised. In fact, modern electric toothbrushes come complete with a two-minute timer. I still use the old-fashioned Stick With Bristles kind of toothbrush, which is of course timer-free.
The problem with brushing your teeth is that once you have mastered the necessary muscular coordination – generally in early childhood – there’s little if any mental engagement required. The entire process becomes boring. You can’t knit while you brush your teeth, you can’t have a conversation, you can’t even stray far from the bathroom, frothing at the mouth as you are. This makes time drag, and what feels like two minutes may in truth be only a quarter of that.
Enter the works of the comedic genius Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. Charge brush, open book, insert brush (into mouth, not book, for best results) and suddenly brushing for two minutes is no longer a problem.
There is, of course, a distinct danger that you will find yourself laughing and potentially choking on your toothbrush, but what of that? At least you will die happy, and with clean teeth.