I have a question.
When did the simple act of a child brushing his or her teeth become a festival?
I was in the grocery store the other day and happened to notice that there is now an entire section of dental products geared for the kiddies.
We didn’t have this back in the Stone Age, when I was a child.
When learning the fine points of dental hygiene, what we had was a mother standing over us, handing us a plain old manual toothbrush, and squeezing onto it the same mint-flavored toothpaste that the grown-ups used, then showing us how to hold it and the proper way to brush. Oh, and not to swallow the toothpaste, because we’d get sick if we did.
That was it. We brushed our teeth twice a day and didn’t think anymore about it.
That was then.
NOW it’s a party. There are, conservatively, 700 different types of toothbrushes, and even more if Disney comes out with yet another animated movie hit. They are every color of the rainbow. They are electric. Some play music. Some talk. I think some even have DVD players in them.
So NOW, in a bathroom gaily festooned with streamers, balloons, and glitter, the brushing of youthful teeth becomes a rite of passage. Photographers are hired. DJs set up in the bathtub. Party dresses and suits are purchased. The family is invited over.
Kids don’t even have to worry about learning not to swallow the toothpaste—there is toothpaste that they CAN swallow, in all different flavors including strawberry, chocolate, tutti fruitti, split pea, and avocado. Not only will they brush their teeth with the stuff, but will probably put it over ice cream, too.
It’s going to be a bad day at the local Emergency Ward when the kiddie toothpaste eventually changes over to the regular kind and all the kids in town have to get their cute little stomachs pumped because they each ate three tubes of regular toothpaste, never having been told that they can no longer do that. On the up-side, the stomach pump will be pastel colored and sport stickers from ‘The Lion King.’
Then, there’s the kiddie mouthwash in many bright colors, most of which are reminiscent of toxic waste. These products will brighten their teeth, give them healthy gums, and raise their IQs by 75 points. And the bottle even converts to a scooter! That’s another thing—the bottles. In order to add to the society-page cotillion that oral hygiene has already become, we add mouthwash containers shaped like ‘Hello Kitty,’ the Minions, Sponge Bob SquarePants, Edgar Allan Poe, and Charles Manson.
Well, the kids can have all that crap. Me? I’m waiting for the Chardonnay flavored toothpaste.