Leah and I have matching toothbrushes. She found a package of these neat bamboo toothbrushes at the store and I like them. First and foremost, they are really soft. Dental hygiene is important to me, and dentists always say to use the softest-bristled toothbrush you can find. Also, it’s really satisfying to go to the dentist and hear “no cavities.” I didn’t have a single cavity until I was twenty-three, though that isn’t to brag—I’ve had work done in the form of headgear and braces. I had to get fillings in both of my back, top molars right before turning twenty-four, and I’m not sure what I was doing then, but luckily I’ve never had a repeat incident.
My sister has never had any cavities. This is a fact she likes to rub in nearly every time she talks to me on the phone. I don’t think we’re that competitive of a family, but I guess bragging (yes, let’s call it bragging) is usually her response to hearing that I’ve been to more countries. I’m sure I can keep that lead going, and what I just hope is that my teeth stay cavity-free while I my sister gets at least three rotten teeth. Leah and I will be visiting her in Denver in a few months, and I’ll have to remember to give my sis lots of candy when we all meet up—candy and soft drinks and sugar cubes.
But back to Leah and I’s toothbrushes. A plastic toothbrush that you use for a few months and then throw away seems like a waste of plastic. Or use for a week, because you accidentally drop in the toilet—a super waste. So these bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable, and they come in a neat cardboard carton of five. Also, each toothbrush is numbered, which is good when you and your spouse have matching toothbrushes. The thing is though, I often forget which number is mine, and I have used Leah’s toothbrush ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION. And here’s a confession: it doesn’t even bother me now.
Until a few months ago it would. Once, when working in Korea, I used my co-worker’s toothbrush. After realizing what I’d done I felt sick for the rest of the day. You might be wondering, “Why was your co-worker’s toothbrush at work?” And to answer that question, I will explain: in Korea, everyone has a work toothbrush. In general, Koreans brush their teeth after every meal, and after just a few months of doing that with my Korean co-workers (don’t want to seem like a foreigner with a dirty mouth!) I found that I liked it! Now I brush my teeth after every meal, and in my desk at school I have an American work toothbrush as well.
So what changed a few months ago? I traveled with Leah to her mom’s house in Washington, DC. I forgot my toothbrush, and Leah said I could use hers. With great hesitancy I did it—I couldn’t go to bed with dirty teeth. Then, after using Leah’s toothbrush and not, you know, dying or something, I realized that it was all OK, and now at home when I mix up our toothbrushes it doesn’t phase me. ANYWAY, we aren’t getting paid at all (I wish) to endorse these toothbrushes, but if you can find them at a local store, maybe give them a shot. However, you might want to color-code them with a marker because the numbers are tiny and easy to miss.
–Jeff and Leah