I do this every night.

Today we're talking teeth. Mine, and yours. You should brush for two minutes, twice a day. Everyone knows this. But how do you (yes, you) measure the two minutes?

What? You don't? You just brush your teeth until you've finished brushing them? Wow.

I used to be like you. I supposed my brushing regime, such as it was, to be sufficient. Then I went to see an Aussie dentist and now my life as I knew it is over.

In its place is a time-consuming nighttime routine and I fear for my sanity (but not my dental health). The new tooth procedure has also impacted on my facial cleansing regime (more of that later), but I think I have achieved a reasonable level of efficiency in completing all tasks now. By "now", I mean two months into my new life. And I still spend about 15 minutes on this regime EVERY NIGHT (mornings aren't so bad).

What did the Aussie dentist do to me? Two words: tooth mousse.

I use tooth mousse. It must (must) be a foreign term to you. Mustn't it? Do you know what tooth mousse is? Nobody does.

Okay, I went to the dentist. It was an eye and mouth opener. The cost of the dentist I am going to have to gloss over (more than I have spent on dental appointments and treatments in my whole life - thank you, NHS).

The dentist was nice. Funny. Expensive (gloss, gloss). She recommended tooth mousse. I said okay. Better than manky mouthwash.

Oh, flossing, too. "Do you floss?" "No, I don't like it." "Try this." "Okay."

See, I think teeth are important. I also have this thing about professionals: I don't see the point of visiting them if you're not going to take their advice. It annoys me when people say they went to the doctor and he said they should do X but they're not going to. Why go, then? You don't get better by being in the same room as a doctor; you get better by doing what they say, taking what they tell you to take, cutting out what they tell you to cut out. Making the appointment isn't a cure.

Anyway...

Dentist says use this, use that, I say okay. First night, I feel disinclined to do any of it. It all takes forever! Here is my regime:

nighttime beauty and dental regime equipment
nighttime beauty and dental regime equipment
  • Brush for two minutes. I have a sports watch in the bathroom now for my dental regime. Incidentally, two minutes is ages. It has become glaringly obvious that I never brushed for two minutes before now. More like one-ish, probably not even that.
  • Use satin dental tape to floss. Possibly the worst part of my day. This takes about a minute and a half, including dispensing of floss, wrapping round fingers etc. There is never anything to show for my flossing efforts and I'd like to give up this part, However, I bought a new box of dental tape today so I'll be flossing for another 25 metres at least.
  • Tooth mousse time. This involves using my finger to spread tooth mousse (which looks like toothpaste) all over the surfaces of my teeth. Then it has to stay on for three minutes, initially (there is, unbelievably, more). I use this time to start my face cleansing regime (can I even go into that? It involves double cleansing).
  • After three minutes (using the watch), I distribute the tooth mousse around the rest of my mouth with my tongue. It's stupid, isn't it? You're reading this thinking "Someone's having her on. Tooth mousse?"
  • Wait another two minutes. Except I don't simply wait - I continue with face cleansing, albeit with a mouth full of saliva and tooth mousse.
  • After two minutes, expectorate (fancy word for spit). Don't rinse out mouth, don't have anything to drink. Any tooth mousse left in mouth will be absorbed by teeth (or something) during the night.
  • By this time, there's only a bit of the face regime to go - toning, moisturising. All good: I'm on the home straight. 
  • Finally, some time around midnight, I emerge from the bathroom.
  • Repeat EVERY NIGHT UNTIL DEATH.

So what's the tooth mousse for? I'm not entirely sure. Something to do with calcifying ,or recalcifying, or calcium... Calculus? I don't know - I just agreed to do it, not anticipating the impact this would have on my evenings.

The first month or so I pretty much had to force myself to go through the steps each time, especially when very tired - it is such a life-sapper. Now, however, it is my life. I just do it. Even as I'm looking at the dental tape, thinking, "I could miss out the flossing; it's pointless", I'm picking it up and pulling off a long piece of hell.

The upshot of this new regime? Apart from reduced sleeping time, of course.

Well, this week I was complimented ON MY TEETH. Now, I can't prove cause and effect - perhaps my teeth have always been worthy of admiration. But I don't hear the words "Your teeth look nice" too often.

Unusual compliments aside, I will not recommend the tooth mousse, just because I don't want anyone else to have this onerous regime as part of their lives. (Did I mention it's melon-flavoured?)

In any case, the point of this post was to ask if you brush for two minutes (got a little sidetracked there). And to ask if you time your brushing in any way (watch that measures seconds in the bathroom? Just me?). Because, melon tooth mousse notwithstanding, I think that's the strangest part of it all: two minutes to brush a maximum of 32 teeth??? Is that really what the developed world is doing twice a day?