In 1994 or so, I took my kids to the park. I began chatting with another mom. She and her husband had just opened a dental practice, and my husband and I had just opened our printshop. Our kids were playing together. I haven’t seen her since.
Her kid is now my dentist.
Entirely impossible. Until I had someone help me with the math. (How I got so old is a topic for another day. When I have the wine out.)
He did not remember our paths crossing like this, but he did tell me I had lovely teeth. Only problem is that I brush too hard and it’s causing some gum recession. I’m right handed and when I come around that corner to attack my lower left teeth, I’m a little … um … aggressive. He advised I should hold my toothbrush with only two or three fingers instead of gripping it in my fist.
“Like playing a violin?”
Oh, and this reminds me. I have a doggie dentist appointment next week for Nala. I know for a fact her dentist will not compliment her teeth. Nine years of not brushing has, I fear, caused some problems for her. In my defense, I tried cleaning her teeth when we got her four years ago, but neither one of us liked it. Perhaps I was too aggressive with her, too. Or perhaps the bacon-flavored toothpaste was unappealing. (Ya think??) Now I’m a bit worried because they’ll put her under with anesthesia. They’ve assured me she’s healthy enough to handle it, but still…
I’m sure the doggie dentist will fix up Nala, but who’s going to help me?? I’ve been trying for the last week to completely change how I brush my teeth. It’s HARD! I’m overly-conscious of every movement I make while attempting to polish up my pearly whites. Sometimes so conscious that I don’t think I’m doing much of anything. Don’t scrub … am I foamy enough? … do I brush longer since I’m not scrubbing as hard? … am I getting everywhere? Gah.
I’ve been trying to dig deep into the recesses of my memory to see if I’ve successfully changed any other habits so drastically. I came up with a couple, although none that I’ve been doing for over 50 years.
I’ve changed how I outline and write books, for one thing. But that was so incremental, simply tweaking my process by trial and error from book to book.
I’ve changed my diet. But again, so incrementally it’s hardly noticeable.
And that’s all I came up with.
Not one habit in my life has been turned so immediately upside down as changing the way I brush my teeth.
So, I’m asking you. Have you had to abruptly change a long-standing habit? How did you do it? How long did it take to embrace the change? Will you now hold your toothbrush with only two fingers and commisserate with me? Should I send you Nala’s leftover bacon-flavored toothpaste?