Saturday, November 11, 2006

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hygeine: Teeth

It is important for your child to adhere to a daily regimen of brushing and flossing before, after and during every meal. If this is not feasible, a child can be trained to swallow whole chunks of food open-mouthed without the food ever coming into contact with their teeth. Massage their throat as they swallow, and speak in calm, reassuring tones while wads of beef and baked potato slowly work their way down the esophagus. It is detrimental for them to panic during this process and send bile and half-digested food splashing over their teeth while they gag and gasp for air. Sometimes a child may have to eat the same boiled carrots seven or eight times before they figure out how to swallow properly.

While I consider it atavistic, many people forgo my economical “gag suppression” style of dental care and instead use “dental cream” or “toothpaste” to clean their teeth. If your child must use toothpaste, choose a brand that contains fluoride, a whitening agent, a “blackening agent” inhibitor, and an acidic uvula cleanser. The child should also use waxed floss to remove particles from between teeth, and unwaxed floss to remove the wax left over from the previous flossing. A fluoride rinse is also recommended to keep teeth strong and resilient. Well-maintained teeth should be able to withstand all agents of tooth decay that affect young children, including repeated blows with a meat cleaver and several pointblank rounds from a 9MM carbine tactical rifle shot directly into the child’s mouth.

Don’t be wooed by expensive gadgets that promise more than they can deliver. Water piks, electric toothbrushes and the two-in-one pneumatic jaw separator and fluoride injector are just fancy gadgets designed to drain your pocket book. I have never had a cavity in my life, and I own only one toothbrush which I’ve filed down to a sharp point and use to fend off beavers while I chew on tree bark, a method I’d used to keep my teeth clean until I inadvertently inhaled about six hundred spider eggs and spent several days under anesthesia while my organs were de-webbed. I would have rather gone to a hospital, but the park ranger insisted he take care of me himself.

If I learned anything from being unconscious in a hammock while a park ranger / part-time square dance caller applies a lint roller to my exposed viscera, it’s that we spend too much time telling our children to brush their teeth, and not enough time telling them how to do it properly. Simply, the child should hold the toothbrush in both hands and brush their teeth in slow circles, gently massage the gums, bow to their partner, promenade left then promenade back again. Next dance is lady’s choice. Let’s hear it for Rod on banjo, today’s his momma’s birthday. Everything you and your child need to know about proper dental care was revealed to me as I drifted in and out of consciousness during a Sadie Hawkins barn dance. Thoughtful people might think it wiser to learn such things from a licensed dentist, but the truth is that dentistry has been a sham since it first came into popularity among nomadic tribesman who would charge benighted peasants as much as twelve bags of silver to rub bison spittle across their teeth with a pinecone.

If you choose not to follow my suggestions, the second best option is to contact your family medical doctor. MDs know everything about the human body, teeth included. They also have access to special medical toothpaste that can prevent against rare but deadly mouth conditions such as parasitic gum crabs: deadly parasites that feed on gum tissue and describe disturbing surgical procedures and scream offensive racial slurs in tiny resonant voices only the infected person can hear.