02C94: The One About Oral Care

Wednesday Sariwon

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 1152

I've been wanting to blog about this for a while, but I keep forgetting to sneak it into my posts as an introduction or a funny aside. So instead, it's going to be the meat and potatoes of this blog post because...why not?

A few years after I had moved out, I kinda blew my mind when I randomly took time to read the label on our toothpaste and saw that the recommended amount of toothpaste to use when you brush is pea-sized. That's a LOT smaller than that classic tube with a twist that we see in all the commercials and other advertising material. Maybe it's a whole baby pea pod or something, but what this means is that I was shocked that I had been following the commercials as a model and thus I was wrong

It took me a lot of practice to override my muscle memory to learn to only use a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste every time I brush. But in time, I got over it.

Recently I keep running into internet wisdom that indicates that the proper procedure for brushing your teeth involves only spitting out the excess toothpaste foam at the end and then...nothing. No rinsing out with water. No gargling with mouthwash. Apparently, by flushing your mouth with any other liquid, you're also washing away the fluoride from the toothpaste, thus eliminating that benefit. Do the research yourself - you'll see a lot of literature about this on the websites of various toothpaste brands! 

My brain sort of short-circuited for a bit as I wrapped my head around this concept. I was so used to brushing, rinsing out with water, then gargling with mouthwash every time. And now, I needed to figure out how to separate brushing and gargling from one another and eliminate rinsing altogether.

So this has become my mind obsession in recent weeks. Separating brushing and gargling wasn't so bad, although it still feels a bit weird. I do mid-day gargles for things like killing the taste of coffee in my mouth and I save brushing for after-meal care in order to clear stuff out. But it has been a whole other struggle to fight the muscle memory of taking in the water right after brushing. I'll inevitably cup water and bring it toward my mouth because I tend to build up a generous amount of toothpaste foam around my lips. And in the process of wiping it away, I also tend to take some in just to rinse. And I continue to make this mistake maybe 1 time out of 3 (progress!) and I feel like facepalming every time I fall into that trap of my own making. 

So welcome to my pocket world of madness. Happy brushing.