I went to a dentist to clean my teeth many years ago. The dental hygienist looked into my mouth. Then she died a silent death – the kind Picasso would go through upon seeing a bad painting.
She told me that the gap between some of my teeth would never lessen. The plaque had pushed them apart, and they would stay that way. I felt sad and helpless at being faced with an irreversible situation. But I guess that’s what aging is — having to suffer for the careless mistakes of your youth.
She said that I needed to floss. But I needed to do more. She recommended I buy the electric toothbrush on display – a Philips Sonicare toothbrush. The brush delivered. The next time I saw her, she detected an improvement of at least 50%. I felt encouraged. I felt glad for forking out the extra dough for an electric toothbrush.
But just yesterday, I noticed another benefit of using the Sonicare toothbrush — one that goes way beyond having clean teeth.
For those who don’t know, the Sonicare toothbrush cleans your teeth in four cycles. Each cycle corresponds to one quadrant of your mouth. You begin with brushing the upper front row of your teeth. The toothbrush beeps and you move on to the rear side of the upper row. Another beep and it’s time to move on. You repeat the motions on the lower row of your teeth.
The toothbrush does all the work. When you use a normal toothbrush, you move it round with your arms. But not with the Sonicare. All you have to do is guide it gently from time to time. But the brush itself does all of the moving and cleaning. Your arms remain relatively steady.
I was on the first cycle of the cleaning. It lasts for an entire 45 seconds. I was standing still looking at the mirror. Because you are perfectly still, using the electric toothbrush leads to an almost meditative state of mind. You notice things that you would normally miss.
I saw that my shoulders were raised. They were tensed under the strain of a hundred and one nameless worries. Almost like the line from Hey Jude, the one that goes, “Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.”I breathed deeply. I relaxed. I lowered my shoulders. It was a good way to enter the day.
I thanked my Sonicare toothbrush for the calmer and clearer state of mind. I wasn’t moving my arm around prodding the corners of mouth with my toothbrush. And as a result, I had noticed my Jude-like shoulders.
You should try and buy an electric toothbrush. For the clean teeth. And because it’s important, once in a while, to remain perfectly still.