May 29, 2013

Lying, Eating Toothpaste, and the Gag Factor

When I was a kid, I lied about brushing my teeth. I hate to break it to you, fellow horse-toothed people, but when you have giant teeth, lying's a little more difficult to get away with it than it is for the rest of the normal-toothed population. When you have little popcorn nugget teeth, your mom has to squint to see your teeth to begin with, dragging out your bug kit magnifying glass to even begin examining your brushing techniques. When you have piano keys for teeth, all is laid bare to the world when you smile: what you ate for dinner, how long you brushed, whether you flossed, if you snuck a Riesen from your mom's secret candy stash that no one was supposed to know existed but everyone visited daily.

My mom, a smart woman, started checking my toothbrush for dampness in her quest to eliminate lying.
So I, even smarter, started wetting my toothbrush before coming down for school.
Then she, annoyingly clever, started checking my breath for minty toothpaste odors.
So I, kid genius, started eating toothpaste to achieve that minty toothpaste odor.

Take that, mom. Suckah!

And then at some point it must have dawned on me that regularly eating toothpaste and spending 30 seconds thoroughly wetting my toothbrush twice a day was probably more work than just actually brushing my teeth. (See? Kid genius. I was already destined for greatness.)

Why all the lying? Two words: gag factor. I am a first-rate gagger. A toothbrush touching my molars? Gag. Those horrifying styrofoam mouth trays we used to get fluoride treatments with in the 80s? Gag. Pregnancy morning sickness combined with a toothbrush in my mouth? Gag. Routine mouth x-rays last fall at the dentist? Gag gag gag. (I'm thick-throated just typing this.)

And then a new layer of awful entered my world along with the birth of my kiddos: sympathy gagging.

So this is how Jannika's dentist appointment went down last winter.

And then I stepped around the corner, clung to the dental hygenists' station while they all looked on amazed, and I violently gagged at Jannika's own gagging sounds I could still plainly hear from the exam room.

Holy guacamole, it was awful.

So yesterday at the dentist I came prepared - I left my sweet girl to her own gagging devices and stayed behind in the waiting room. She could have thrown up for all I know or cared. It's a dog-eats-dog world, folks, and I did what I had to do to survive. And then I snuck candy from the secret stash in my purse while driving home and totally lied to the kids about it, claiming it was gum. But they figured it out of course; one look at my teeth while I unbuckled car seats and they knew. Stupid horse teeth - they'll give you away every time.

Horse image courtesy of Tina Phillips at

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