Memoir of a Toothbrush

Memoir of a Toothbrush

By Eve Chalom

Eve Chalom is a two time world competitor in ice dancing. She is currently a dance/movement therapist, a performer in both ice skating and modern dance, a yogi, and a figure skating coach. She is continually exploring the connections between dance/movement therapy, figure skating, and life in general.

We didn’t just go to a regular dentist. We did that, of course, because all kids are in danger of cavities, and we needed our teeth cleaned. It took forever, and I thought I was going to die looking up at that ceiling with my lip ending up on the floor like Bill Cosby in that comedy skit of his. They never had anything on the ceiling though, just millions of millions of white dots. The dentist was way too friendly and I thought his mouth was going to eat my face as he smiled at me while fiddling with my teeth and those metal scrapers. No, we didn’t just go to a regular dentist, we also went to a PERIODONTIST. I told my friends and they had never heard of such a thing. “He’s a gum doctor,” I said. “He cleans your gums.” “Why would you need your gums cleaned, that’s ridiculous!” “We have bad gums.” Apparently, according to my mom, we had both bad teeth and bad gums. Teeth that were my father’s and gums that were my mother’s. Too big teeth and too small gums.   I was afraid all my teeth were going to fall out of my mouth. So I went to the dentist to get my too big teeth cleaned, and of which there were too many for my too small gums, so I had to get at least four of them pulled so that everything would fit. Intermarriage was a bad idea for happy mouths, because of all those different genes from different parts of the world trying to agree on how to work together! And I went to the PERIODONTIST to get my gums cleaned, because apparently I and my toothbrush did not do a good enough job.

It was a losing battle. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my gums. My friends didn’t see anything wrong with them. I went around showing everyone my gums and they all thought they looked normal. But off to the gum doctor, I went. And they found things to clean, and floss, and rinse, and pick, and when I left, I thought I would never be able to get the taste of blood out of my mouth and be able to enjoy regular food again, which for a whole day, would taste like whatever cleaning solution they had made me rinse with. And they gave me a bigger goodie bag than the dentist did, although there were no toys in it. At the dentist’s office, there was this treasure chest that you could go digging into to find a little plastic toy to take home with you, dice, or a little wheel, or a small action figure. At the periodontist office, the most interesting thing was a metal rod with a rubber tip on the end. You were meant to push on your gums with the rubber tip to stop them from growing over your teeth. My mom warned me that my gums might grow over my teeth like her and that I would need to get them cut back again and again. My brother had to get them cut back. I pushed with that rubber tip. I never needed them cut back. But I do have some empty spaces in my mouth where they took out too many teeth.

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