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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

I Give In

Spurred by the kind urgings of Feral Mom, Elizabeth, Charlie, and the amazing Orange, I’m upgrading Oral Hygiene Queen from a fake blog (see first and ‘til now only post) to a real blog. It remains to be seen how real, and whether I can live up to Orange’s vision of “a wealth of archived hilarity,” but I’ll try at least to provide a bit of archived amusement. Plus tips on flossing. So welcome to Oral Hygiene Queen, 2nd annual post.

Here’s an introduction via a list of Frequently Unasked Questions:

Why “Oral Hygiene Queen”?

Well, first of all, because when you take out the “hygiene” it sounds dirty, and I have a dirty mind and a puerile sense of humor. But mostly because, among other traits and interests that define me, I am mildly obsessed with oral hygiene. It shapes my daily life. I have four toothbrushes in active circulation (one Sonicare at home, one normal one at home, one in my backpack, and one in the desk drawer in my office). I brush my teeth three to five times a day, and for longer intervals than anyone else I know. I actually enjoy it. I only floss once a day. (Okay, sometimes twice, but only when I’ve eaten something really sticky.)

Can you trace your obsession with oral hygiene, or have you always been this weird?

It all started with a book. Really. When I was about twelve my mom got me a book called The Tooth Trip by this hippie dentist named Thomas McGuire D.D.S. It is a truly hilarious read. In it Dr. McGuire describes the germs that live in our mouths as little guys that eat whatever we leave on our teeth, then shit and piss in our mouths, causing decay and gingivitis and whatnot. Disgusting! This image made a deep impression on me, and began my thing with brushing, flossing, and the Water Pic. (Dr. McGuire is a big proponent of the Water Pic. I had a thing with them for a few years, but finally decided good old fashioned brushing and flossing was good enough. ‘Til I got my Sonicare about three years ago, but that’s an oral hygiene story for another day.) I even began proselytizing. I told my aunt – who was a fairly negligent brusher at the time – all about the shitting, pissing germs and got her to start brushing more often and flossing and using a Water Pic. In order to remind her to brush and floss daily, I made her this little sign to hang up in her bathroom. I drew a picture of two little germs sitting on a molar, one squatting down taking a dump and the other standing and taking a leak (that one had an evil smile on his face and was wearing a Hawaiian shirt.) Under the picture in big letters I wrote “STOP MOUTH POOPING!” I kid you not. I was twelve years old. So I was weird, but reading The Tooth Trip and getting obsessed with oral hygiene made me weirder.

You are a frequent commenter on Gone Feral and have mentioned that Feral Mom is a friend of yours. Is there some sort of connection between oral hygiene and ferality, or is this a case of opposites attracting?

There is definitely a connection. Witness the shit and piss images in the oral hygiene proselytizing story above. Moreover, let me say that it’s quite possible to be fastidious in some ways and feral in others. I tend to be largely fastidious and partly feral, while I would classify Feral Mom as mostly feral but still significantly fastidious. (She values a good shower and historically tends to shower more often than me. I have also seen both toothbrushes and floss in her bathroom, and wee toothbrushes for her two little Irish bairns, which indicates a definite commitment to oral hygiene.) But more important than that, there is a paradox in that our most fastidious impulses can sometimes lead to feral behavior. The example I would draw from my life is public flossing. I am so committed to flossing my teeth and have come to see it as so natural (much like breathing) that I will sometimes without a second thought floss in front of other people, even people I’m not particularly intimate with. When I stop and think about it, this is truly disgusting. There’s got to be some sort of law against it in the Old Testament. But I do it anyway. I have also been known to reuse floss in a pinch, which is pretty damned gross. But I’d rather be gross and floss than forgo flossing.

So there you have it. I have to add that my husband said two things when I mentioned that I was updating this blog: 1. “Change the name. Oral Hygiene Queen sounds boring, and no one will want to read it.” and 2. “Don’t under any circumstance mention me or anything about me. But if you do, give me a good pseudonym.” So if you read this, let me know whether you think that this blog is boring and should be euthanized or interesting enough to post to at least once a year. If I keep it up, I’ll have to work on that spousal pseudonym.


Blogger Elizabeth said...

Welcome back Oral Hygiene Queen! I have several comments: 1) Keep the name. It's got a nice (yet faintly weird/dirty) ring. 2) I think we need to see the "stop mouth pooping" image if at all possible. 3) Although I'm usually quite good about oral hygiene, it just so happens I didn't brush or floss before I went to sleep last night (although I brushed twice at other times yesterday). I now feel vaguely filthy. This is why we need you, Oral Hygiene Queen. Looking forward to the Sonicare.

7:59 AM  
Blogger DoctorMama said...

What do you do while brushing and flossing? I (and Orange, I discovered) read magazines. Only in this way can I brush long enough to really feel clean.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Orange said...

I find this deeply troubling: Mr. Tangerine is wont to clean the piece of floss that's in use by sucking off the food bits and spitting them in the sink. Does this trouble you?

I'm hoping the OH Queen will post more than once a year. But just in case this is my only chance to convey this important information, here goes: It is possible to brush too much and cause gingival recession (and the resultant tooth sensitivity). Please put my mind at ease and tell me you never go harder than a soft-bristled toothbrush, OH Queen.

6:48 PM  
Blogger E. said...

I will ask my aunt if she still has the "stop mouth pooping" sign. She had it up in her bathroom cabinet for years, but then she moved and I haven't seen it since. It's quite the work of adolescent art.

Thanks for your concern, Orange. I always use a soft brush, a light hand, and a circular motion. In terms of the food bits on floss thing, I prefer rinsing them off, but I do think that's a personal thing. Maybe part of the reason why flossing should be private (even though I don't keep it such.) I read once (in one of the short readings at the front of Harper's) that according to the Koran, it's okay to eat the food bits off your floss as long as it doesn't gross you out. But it grosses me out.

I also tend to read while brushing, which is why so many of our magazines are water damaged from being propped in precarious positions on the sink.

9:32 AM  
Blogger jpn said...

Finally finally I figured out how to work this damn thing so I could post. Wasn't about cookies after all.

Anyway, I'm so pleased you've finally come out and revealed your oral hygiene fixation to the world.

My own fixation on oral health was strengthened several years ago, when my (formerly) heavy-drinking sister revealed to me that even on nights when she'd been out carousing 'til the wee hours, she would never fail to brush and floss before going to bed. What a woman! I always think about her on the rare occasion when I'm really really tired and just don't want to take the time to do oral hygiene --- that story never fails to get me in the bathroom.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Toby Higbie said...

Welcome to blogdom OH Queen! We're already waiting for the next post.

My oral hygiene story...? Well, my mother has had multiple gum surgeries so I'm probably destined for something bad. I admit, I don't floss all that often, but I do brush regularly. I haven't been to the dentist since I last lived in a certain downstate university town and had the awesome insurance provided by a certain teachers' union for which I was organizing. (is all of this anonymous for your parnter, shall we call him "Knox Harrington, the video artist") Yes, it's been that long. Who has time to find a dentist in the big city? What's that you say? There was a dentist on the corner of Summerdale and Clark not 100 yards from your apartment? Whatever. I was busy.

Forgive me OH Queen for I have sinned...

You see, your message is needed out hear in blog-o-feral-rama-dom.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Charlie said...

Welcome, OHQ. I'm glad I had a small hand in prodding you into blogging. And I'm sorry I'm so late to the welcoming party!

8:57 PM  
Blogger Feral Mom said...

The last dentist I saw was in Iowa, so as you can see, I need this blog. But teeth, schmeeth--I'm just excited to see that E. is finally joining the blogosphere in her own right! Hooray!
Also, I should clear something up about me and showering--I may shower more than E. (and I bet if we counted TIME in the shower, rather than individual showers, we'd at least tie) but I think the fact that I usually am either peeing or drinking a beer or both should count for something. Am I fastidious about anything? Well, yes--I like the puzzles put back together before bedtime.

9:04 PM  
Blogger E. said...

Thanks, jpn, Tobias, Charlie, and FM! Wow, so many confessions about oral hygiene lapses. It's not too late! Make that dentist appointment! Hell, if my (formerly) heavy-drinking aunt could get it together to brush her teeth when she was (formerly) schnockered, then you can dial up a local dentist when you're sober. Wait, you're not sober? Okay, scrawl yourself a note and call when you dry out.

8:21 AM  

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