Everyday Artists

The world's greatest artists walk you through simple, everyday tasks.

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The world is indeed full of plaque, and in it there are many dark places; but there is much that is fair, and though in all the lands teeth are now mingled with bacteria, they grow perhaps greater. For the knowledge that the sun still rises, and with it, the opportunity to resume a regimented dental schedule. If more of us valued dental hygiene above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world, and a sight better than it is now.

Before we begin, take note of the status of your teeth as Sauron took note of the status of his domain before his construction of Barad-dur. For without knowledge, there can be no progress. Fear both the white and the yellow of your teeth. White deceives into thinking the job done and yellow betrays the confidence of a job needing doing.

Now then, know that if by my brushing and flossing technique I can protect you, I will. And remember always that to protract a good brushing, to delay a flossing, only makes the task at hand more difficult. It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish. A brushing is never late. Nor is it early. It arrives precisely when it needs to. If it is courage you lack, take comfort in knowing that courage is found in unlikely places. Perhaps in a new flavor of toothpaste—may I recommend aqua mint?

Whatever flavor you choose, all we have to decide is what to do with the toothpaste that is given us.

With toothbrush in hand, the journey begins in 465 of the First Age, before the birth of Tuor, son of Huor, with three methods, given to the lords of the brush. Circular, back and forth, up and down. There is no right way, nor will I tell you to do one above the others, so much that you do it diligently. For short cuts make long delays. Allow for foaming, for a collection of minty richness and cleanliness. Try all three methods, if you feel the spice of life possess you. Begin with the incisors up front, or as I like to call them, the two towers. Gradually move back to one side, then the other, making sure that each realm of tooth is properly cared for, less you come out looking like Dunlendings, and no one wants that.

When the brushing is completed and the plaque cast into the void as Morgoth in the War of Wrath before the rise of the plateau of Mordor in 587 of the first age, and the paste disposed of, rinse twice and take floss. Do not meddle in the affairs of floss picks, for they are impractical and quick to dirty. Try to have patience if you can, as you dig between each tooth, unearthing that which would cause you pain; or, more pain than you are currently sustaining. If more enemies exist than the floss can quell in one venture, venture again. What hordes exist will spawn if not fully disposed of.

On the subject of mouthwash, many that use mouthwash deserve death. And some that use it deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be eager to deal out death or judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. The wide world of mouthwash is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out. All in all, it does not do to leave mouthwash out of your calculations, if you live with it. But don’t go getting it mixed up as everything, or you’ll land in trouble too big for you.

Now, is it not substantially better to tend to one’s own oral hygiene than to deal with the darkness that comes without? Flee not from your teeth as Isildur fled at the burning of the white tree. Do not despair. Behold! We are not bound forever to the circles of the dentist, and beyond them is more than fluoride treatments. Remember that you can only come to the morning through shadows, and you can only come to hearty and healthy teeth through proper brushing, flossing, and if your whimsies deem it worthy, mouthwash.

In finality, it is not the strength of the gums that counts, but the strength of the spirit. What pain comes from the bristles or the floss should not steer you from persevering. Faithless is he that says farewell when the gums bleed. I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil. I will, though, say I am glad that you are here with me, here at the start of this new dental adventure.