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Ask Tuffy – Now spit! Sunday, September 9, 2007

Posted by Tuffy in ask tuffy, tuffy.

I love that dirty water

Dear Tuffy,

I recently was presented with quite a dilemma. There had been an accident outside my apartment, and the water line was broken. I went to perform my nightly brushing, and the water was brown. I’m not talking like slightly murky water like you see in a tequila bottle, but I’m talking about something that you would expect to find in a New York sewer.

Dental health is important to me, and I searched for something that I could use in place of water, but orange juice seemed unwise, and Kool-Aid seemed like it would defeat the purpose of brushing. So I chose Diet Pepsi. I chose it for its low caloric content, and lack of cavity-inducing sugar.

My question to you is this: In place of water, what is the best fluid to brush your teeth with? Would an alcohol such as vodka or gin be good? Or should I stick to my proven Diet Pepsi method?

Sally in Seville

Dear Sally,

First, I have shared your note with my contacts in New York City and they would like to know where you have found this wonderful brown water in their fine city. They would kill the nearest homeless person for such an elixir compared to the blackened excrement that seeps from their pipes.

Berke Breathed once compared both Pepsi and Coke as a choice between two types of “malted battery acid”. He was too kind. Don’t rub that caustic death sentence for enamel against your teeth any more than you have to. For crying out loud, don’t swish with it! You might as well being considering your choice in denture adhesive. (PoliGrip. Trust me. I can’t say more at this time. Just trust me.)

Generally speaking, you’ve hit on the right solution in this difficult situation. Vodka and gin are both clear liquids with the alcohol that has a slim chance of killing a bacterium or two while you do the heavy lifting with the brush. In a pinch, these will both do nicely. If you have both, go with vodka. Its odorless and colorless nature is why I keep it in the middle left drawer of my desk at all times. (And a flask in my coat. And the glove compartment. And a vial in my sock. And a surgically implanted CamelBak. And…)

Also, using vodka as a brushing rinse is great for children. Motivation to brush increases greatly, especially for teenagers. Younger children are less likely to wake up in the middle of the night for a glass of water or fear of a storm or acute illness or… well, anything, really. Prolonged use, however, may lead to going out for the morning paper and finding his tricycle wrecked on the front steps with a SpongeBob SquarePants toothbrush wedged between the spokes or a child’s shame at waking up to find herself cuddled next to a stuffed animal she’s never seen before. Caution (and rubber sheets) are recommended.

Similar caution should be applied to adults. After all, you’re rinsing with sugar water. What may first appear to be an innocent interest in dental hygiene may eventually devolve into being surrounded by family and friends hesitantly complimenting you on your gap-laden shiny grin as an entry point to intervene and point out the six bottles of Grey Goose surrounding the bathroom sink.

If you don’t have vodka and gin in your home… hell, get to the store now and stock up for this eventuality. Tell the liquor store clerk you’re preparing for a disaster. He’ll know what you mean, man. He’ll know.

However, if this really isn’t an option, have you considered dry brushing? After all, if fluoride treatments are $25 a pop at the dentist, they’re clearly great between visits, too. Just spit out what you can and let the rest do its magic on your molars and bicuspids throughout the day. You’ll adjust to the taste eventually. It wouldn’t hurt to buy some of that flavored kid toothpaste, either.

(No, not “kid-flavored”. Toothpaste flavored to make it more palatable for kids. Arthur C. Clarke made the same mistake and is still working through the last case of Crest BURSTIN’ bubblegum toothpaste.)

There are other benefits as well. For example, appearing rabid will help you skip long lines at the bank, bargain for the best price with a scalper outside a ball game, and get your own syndicated radio talk show.

Good luck with your brushing conundrum, Sally. The most important lesson to be learned? It’s not healthy to swallow.



1. TheStarterWife - Sunday, September 9, 2007

Note to self: Stay away from Tuffy this week. Might be moldy.

2. DougOLis - Sunday, September 9, 2007

“The most important lesson to be learned? It’s not healthy to swallow.”

Don’t be telling the Ladies that.

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