A Dentist's Worst Nightmare

You join me in the midst of National Smile Month, four weeks in which we Brits are meant to show off our gleaming grins. Except we daren't.

Now I know this is a terrible admission before an American audience that prides itself on dental hygiene and spends a vast slice of its gross national income keeping US biting bits in fine white fettle. But over here we just don't bother.

Up north in Scotland, for instance, the national diet is so full of sugary food that a typical 21st birthday present for a Glasgow youth is a set of 'wallies' – cheap, uncomfortable, pink-gummed, unrealistic plastic false teeth.

The rest of us are notoriously bad at cleaning our surviving incisors. A cursory brush is the British way. And if something gets stuck down there we tend to leave it alone to rot, or reach for the nearest household implement to try to get it out. I am not joking.

This is now proven fact, courtesy of a shocking coast to coast survey revealing that 60 percent of us have used makeshift dental gadgets in pursuit of stubborn trapped food. The screwdriver is the most popular tool. But it is slightly difficult to get into the corners especially a Phillips head.

Persistent Brits don't give up easily though. We hate dentists. We put them on a par with Frankenstein. We'd much rather do the job ourselves. Now, a nice bunch of keys can be invaluable … make sure you pick the one with the serrated edge to get that sawing motion. If you work in an office the humble paper clip can quickly be adapted to probe between the amalgams of finer fillings.

The fairer sex often prefers earrings. These are excellent for poking in between those troublesome little fissures at the front. And if all else fails then the British pioneering spirit will call in the big gun – the drill! We have a deep-rooted (sorry) and quite illogical objection to using floss. As a result, we possess some of the most unspeakable mouths on the planet – and that is the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth.
by Ed Boyle