I’ve mentioned previously that my office is located within a professional building and that we’re on the same floor as several dentists. In and of itself, that’s fine, since I don’t really have anything against dentists. Well, almost nothing. I mean it’s not like I’m an anti-dentite or anything.
But I guess I do take issue with the fact that the dental hygienist works on cleaning my teeth for 20 minutes and then the dentist arrives at the very end to take a 3 second look at my mouth and declare all is good. He’s in and out faster than a politician’s promise on election day. And also, if you’re gonna stuff your fingers in my mouth and then ask how the family is doing, you’re not really trying.
Anyway, on to another unusual work experience. Because, you know, why not?
Despite the previously documented lack of restroom traffic, at least once per week I walk into the restroom and see someone brushing their teeth at the sink. Now don’t get me wrong, in a general sense, I’m a huge fan of people brushing their teeth. You know, hooray for hygiene and all that. But in a public restroom, that’s just downright disgusting.
Let me reflect on this a moment, because maybe I’m just being a hypochondriac…
…nope, it’s definitely gross.
I can almost begin to understand the correlation that some people may draw. You brush your teeth in the bathroom at home, so why not just do it in a different bathroom. Right?
No. It’s a PUBLIC RESTROOM. There’s a huge difference. I mean, has anyone really paid attention to what public restrooms look like? Does anyone think that the hundreds of visitors the restroom sees each day leave the encapsulated (and often poorly ventilated) room nice and sterile?
Still a bit iffy? Well, let me just say that as a member of the male crowd, my experience is that my esteemed colleagues do not treat restrooms with any sort of reverence and do not care the state they leave it in for the next person. That aside, it always seems you play the restroom lottery every time you open the door. Some you walk into may be ok and have that weird-but-not-totally-offensive pine scent in the air, while others are just an all-out assault on your senses, crushing your will live. I’m fighting off the urge to keep going (ha ha, bathroom pun), but am going to take the high road and move on.
So one of two things is going on here. Either A) people are trying to get one last brushing in an attempt to mask their unpreparedness or B) dental offices are sending patients to the hall restroom to brush their teeth. I have to think it’s the former, because I’ve never gone to the dentist and been asked to brush my teeth there. In fact, that’s kinda the point of most dentist visits…they clean and floss your teeth for you while you sit in the chair and try not to get lockjaw. But even if a dentist needed a patient to brush, sinks are freaking everywhere in those offices and there shouldn’t be a reason to send a patient into a hallway restroom to brush.
So I believe people are trying to do some kind of cram session before their dental exam. Unfortunately, and I’m no expert here or anything, teeth don’t work that way. Flossing and brushing moments before you see the dentist won’t have any more of a benefit than someone who is 200lbs overweight running on a treadmill a few minutes before their annual physical.
By far the weirdest (most terrifying?) thing I’ve witnessed so far happened recently. I walked into the restroom, and there before me is Joey PooTooth, probably in his mid 30’s, standing and facing the mirror as he brushes his teeth, with his used dental floss resting in a gnarled heap on the sink. So I briefly pause, taken aback by the scene. Reassuring myself that at least I’m not the one attempting to clean my mouth in a room that is generally rather unsanitary, I do my best to resist making an appalled face.
After taking just a few steps into the restroom and as I begin to walk past him, it happens…he begins to rinse his mouth. Mind you, he doesn’t cup water into his hands to rinse his mouth. No no, that would be the most reasonable thing to do in this bizarre situation. Going beyond my comprehension, he sticks his head down to the sink to slurp water coming directly from the faucet.
All brain functions in my head came to a halt like a screeching record player. The only thought that I was capable of generating began to echo in my head. I’m actually in the presence of someone sticking their mouth under the faucet in a public bathroom so he can gargle, and I began to weep internally.
A moment later, I hear his footsteps from behind me, followed by the unmistakable sound of the restroom stall door shutting and locking. I don’t know the exact reason why at the time, but I felt the urge (ha ha, another bathroom pun) to prove this scene had transpired. Maybe I was too overcome with bewilderment to think rationally, but I set out to document this absurdity. I glanced around and confirmed that no one else was present. And with all the slyness and tact of a seasoned spy, I silently retrieved my phone, aimed, and snapped a quick pic.
Needless to say, I immediately headed out of the restroom, ignoring the protest from my bladder for not having accomplished the task I went in there for. Upon returning to my office, I must have stared at my desk for a good 5 minutes before I was able to do anything other than replay what had just unfolded. And, for those of you interested, when I went back to the restroom a little bit later, the dental floss was still on the counter…but the toothbrush was gone.
Now, there’s no real moral to the story, no profound epiphany that I can present. But, I can suggest that if you’re not flossing and brushing at least once per day, please:
- don’t get too close to me when you talk
- try to improve your dental hygiene, because really, it’s the only part of your skeleton that you have to wash
- for the love of God, brush your teeth at home and not in a public restroom!
Dentist meme: https://imgflip.com/i/1ao49m