Even Tough Guys Like Me Can Be Dental Wusses

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This article was published


(650 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

You are going to be insanely jealous when you hear what I did this past weekend.

I went shopping for a new toothbrush.

Yes, I know, my life is extremely exciting. Before you lurch away to the sports section, allow me to point out that I was not shopping for a regular, humdrum, old-school toothbrush.

No, I was shopping for a newfangled, state-of-the-art, high-tech, computerized electric toothbrush that costs marginally less than a foreign sports car and, when it is not being used to clean your teeth, carries out the following tasks:


Teaches your children how to drive;


Calculates your taxes;


Walks your dogs;


Shares embarrassing photos of your teeth on the internet.

I want to stress I personally had no desire to obtain a ridiculously expensive toothbrush. My dentist made me do it. And, thanks to my famously irrational fear of dentists, I do whatever he tells me to do.

For the record, this is the first time in my life I have required an instruction manual to operate a (bad word) toothbrush.

What happened was, I went to have my teeth cleaned last week and the dentist and dental hygienist spent several minutes with their arms folded across their chests, frowning at me and making clucking sounds with their tongues.

That is the medically professional way they convey the notion that they are extremely disappointed in you because your teeth are coated in a disgusting layer of plaque, which, without doing any actual research, is millions of bacteria that get together and have a party on your teeth and, when they get tired, clump together and form yellowish brown gunk called tartar that makes you look like a deadringer for Austin Powers.

"What is your flossing regimen?" the hygienist asked me.

"WHAT flossing regimen?" is what I replied.

That is when the hygienist rolled her eyes and sniffed: "That's what I thought."

For those of you who are not up on the latest dental care techniques, it pretty much all comes down to flossing, which is something I am physically and mentally incapable of doing because - follow me closely here - I am a person of the extreme male gender.

The problem is dental floss is designed to have the same consistency as the thinnest thread in the world, meaning it is impossible to grip when you are equipped with big, clumsy man hands that typically come with fingers the same size and shape as mature zucchini.

It is a known scientific fact that man hands were biologically designed to handle a limited number of objects, including:


Barbecue tongs;




Sports paraphernalia such as hockey sticks, baseball bats and golf clubs;


Television remote controls.

The journalistic point I am making is that I have never flossed in my life, which means my teeth are a (bad word) playground for plaque, which means that I enjoy having my teeth cleaned the way other people enjoy being waterboarded or having their spleens removed with a butter knife.

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking: "Gee, Doug, you are a total weenie when it comes to visiting the dentist."

Well, Captain Courageous, you could not be more correct. I am such a big dental wuss that I avoided letting anyone look at my teeth for about eight years until, one night, while taking part in a fundraising sleepout for the homeless, I bit into a slice of pizza and - CRACK! - shattered a tooth on what I assume was a petrified piece of pepperoni.

Since then, I have been visiting the dentist every six months, and now they want me to come for cleanings every four months because, as it turns out, my mouth is ground zero for dental plaque.

Before you laugh your cruel little laugh, what you need to know is that, while you read this column, millions of slimy little plaque bacteria are peeking out of YOUR mouth and praying that you will clip out that two-for-one burger coupon.

So there I was, last week, lying prone in a dental chair, staring up at a TV the size of a toaster, clutching the chair arms in a white-knuckled death grip, while the lovely and kind hygienist made casual conversation as she attacked my teeth with sharpened metal instruments that, in my eyes, were the size and shape of whaling harpoons.

I did my best to behave in a manly manner, but it wasn't easy.

"OUCH!" I would routinely shriek, "YOU JUST RIPPED OFF HALF MY GUMS!"

"No, I didn't, silly," the hygienist would calmly reply as she poked at another tooth.

"YES YOU DID!" I would snort, weeping openly in a bid to get a little sympathy.

"Ha ha ha," she would reply. "You're so funny."

Anyway, I think you get the general idea of why I agreed to shell out big bucks for a fancy plaque-fighting toothbrush that will, hopefully, make my dental visits moderately more pleasant.

In fact, I can't wait to take this new high-powered device for a test drive in my germ-infested mouth. And I plan on doing that just as soon as it finishes my taxes and takes the dogs for a walk.

Even Tough Guys Like Me Can Be Dental Wusses 1

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