Many nights I delay going to bed because I don’t want to brush my teeth.
I have my pajamas on, the house is locked up, I’m finished reading or watching television or playing Letter Garden on my tablet, and Dan has been snoring for half an hour. But I look around for something else to do so I can put off brushing my teeth.
I’ve never grown out of a childlike hatred of teeth brushing. I am a diligent brusher and flosser. Twice a day, every day. But I don’t like it.
I even bought a new electric toothbrush. It is a Quip brush, and I love it. Well, I love it as much as I can love a toothbrush. It’s kind of like loving a certain kind of scouring pad. I wish I had no need for one, but since I do, this is the one I want.
The minute I turn this toothbrush on, it starts tracking my brushing time. It beeps at 30-second intervals. After the fourth beep, I have brushed for a full two minutes, the brush turns itself off, and I am finished.
My teeth feel cleaner since I’ve been using this brush. The company sends me a new toothbrush head every three months, so I don’t need to remember to buy one. Everything about this brush is good.
Still, when the only thing left for me to do before going to bed is brush my teeth, I dawdle.
Going to bed without brushing is not an option.
Sometimes I persuade myself to brush BEFORE I put on my pajamas, lock the doors, finish watching TV, and tell Dan goodnight. When I follow this plan, going to bed is easy. I press the off button on the remote or the tablet, or close the book, and I’m done.
But when I follow that plan, I delay putting on my pajamas, locking the doors, finishing my TV watching, and telling Dan goodnight because, again, that toothbrushing step stands in my way.
Some nights Dan gets up to go to the bathroom or to get a drink and sees me wearing my pajamas and sitting idly in my recliner at midnight.
“What are you doing?” he asks.
“Nothing,” I say.
“Then why don’t you go to bed?” he asks.
“I’m not ready yet,” I say.
He shrugs his shoulders, the same way he does when I tell him all the bills in my wallet must be turned the same way, in ascending value order, with all the Presidents’ heads facing up.
I see commercials claiming that chewing Orbit gum strengthens the teeth, chewing Trident gum helps prevent cavities, and chewing Mentos Pure White Sweet Mint gum whitens the teeth. Maybe I could just pop a threesome of these chewing gums into my mouth twice a day and make toothbrushing redundant.
But, I cringe at the thought of answering my dentist’s question: “Have you been brushing twice a day?” with “No, but I’ve been chewing lots of gum.”
It is getting late. Now that I’ve finished writing this blog post for the week, there really is nothing else for me to do.
I will give up, brush my teeth, and head for bed.
I won’t go to sleep though. I’ll lie awake, looking at the ceiling and dreading the coming of morning when, once again, I must brush my teeth.