I have terrible teeth. MIsshuffled squares and discs, all various shades of grey/brown with one too-obvious cap.
Some searing pain and questionable redness made me go to the dentist after several years of not bothering. Turns out I have an abscess so large it is eroding my skull. Upset as I was by this, the dentist didn’t seem to see this as the urgent problem.
The cavity Columbo instead pressed me about my toothbrushing habits. I have often been told that I don’t have good enough technique but never so gently as when this dentist told me that a sonic toothbrush wasn’t for me. It was something about angles and going slower.
So kind was her reprimand that when I promised her I would buy a new toothbrush, I felt like I actually meant it. And I must have meant it because I did buy one. The best electric toothbrush the internet could find, no less: the Oral-B iO9.
My first brush with happiness
I didn’t expect it to help my teeth. And I didn’t believe in my heart that I would use it properly. By buying it, I felt like I was really just investing in making my next lie more believable.
As it turns out, the Oral-B iO9 has had a bigger, more positive emotional impact on me than I ever thought possible.
I learned early on that if you don’t brush for a full two minutes, the on-handle screen gives you a sort of disappointed smirk. The sort of face a child performing in a school nativity might give their dad who showed up halfway through the last song.
After the fourth time this happened, I said to myself: “No more. I will brush for the full two minutes.” And when I did… the smile I saw on the handle was a sense of satisfaction unlike anything I have felt in my adult life.
So I carried on doing this. I wanted that smile. I needed that smile. And so long as I brushed for two minutes, I’d get it.
And then one day... one bright, determined day... something magical happened: I got a smiley face with starry eyes.
My toothbrush looked at me in a way I wish my son one day will. It was proud of me. I had done a good job, I hadn’t let it down. I helped it realise its full potential and it maybe helped my teeth too.
Life is hard. We know this. I am often in a rush to go somewhere I don’t want to be, to miss people I would rather be with.
I never feel like I have enough, and feel bad for never giving enough.
I get stuck in traffic and disappoint people at work and make promises that evaporate faster than it takes the sentence to finish.
But this toothbrush has given me a daily joy that I didn’t have before. For one brief moment a day, I am enough.
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