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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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On Dental Hygiene and Magical Girls
Magical girls are notoriously disorganized in the morning, meaning that they frequently have to run to school while still eating breakfast. It's charming, but what then becomes of their daily dental routine? A brief study reveals that in the very first episode of Sailor Moon Usagi does indeed brush her teeth, which is reassuring:

usagi brushes

On this occasion she is so late that she appears to skip breakfast altogether. However, by Episode 3 she has taken up the habit of running out of the house with food:

usagi leaves

Tut tut. Cardcaptor Sakura, meanwhile, brushes her teeth and then sits down to a hearty breakfast provided by her father:

sakura brushessakura breakfasts2

It's a very similar story with Madoka. First she brushes, then she breakfasts with her family:

madoka brushesmadoka breakfasts

This allows her to leave in a hurry with a tell-tale slice of toast dangling from her mouth:

madoka leaves

When the cultural context is sufficiently distant it can be hard to tell a topos from real life. Are Japanese kitchens quite as heavily populated by benign aproned fathers as one might imagine from this small sample? I don't suppose so, but still - perhaps in Japan (or at least amongst the magical girls of that nation) it really is usual to brush one's teeth before breakfast. Might this be so? It seems dubious from the point of view of dental health, and the only person I ever knew to advocate it was my old German teacher, Mr Bachmann. His argument, circa 1974, was that waiting till after breakfast before brushing was unhealthy because it meant that you swallowed all the germs that had built up in your mouth overnight - an idea that failed to convince me at the time but struck me hard enough that I've remembered it for forty years. So, perhaps in Germany, Japan and elsewhere it is normal practice.

Maybe I'm the outlier here, in fact? Do let me know.

Poll #1974494 Brushing before or after breakfast

What is your morning routine?

I eat breakfast and then clean my teeth
I clean my teeth and then eat breakfast
I play it by ear
I don't eat breakfast but I do clean my teeth
I eat breakfast, but I don't clean my teeth (or have none to clean)
I clean not, neither do I eat

Glad Madoka's in there :)

I brush after awakening and also after breakfast. I can't possibly start a morning without brushing, and breakfast doesn't happen till an hour or two later.

Hygiene-wise, why would there be a particular need to brush after breakfast if there's no particular need to brush after other meals? If it's to clean out what happened overnight, wouldn't brushing before breakfast do the trick?

To omit her would be sacrilege!

I can't possibly start a morning without brushing, and breakfast doesn't happen till an hour or two later.

Such is not the case for our tardy Magical Girls, of course.

Hygiene-wise, why would there be a particular need to brush after breakfast if there's no particular need to brush after other meals?

A very good question, and one that has sometimes haunted me in the stilly watches. I suppose there is ultimately a trade-off between cleanliness and the gradual abrasion of tooth enamel - but there's a lot to be said for chewing some sugar-free gum after every meal, at least. Sadly, I have never seen a magical girl take this simple dental precaution.

Re: Glad Madoka's in there :)

Another reason for not eating breakfast immediately after brushing one's teeth is that it makes food and drink (especially orange juice) taste kind of disgusting.

Re: Glad Madoka's in there :)

Hygiene-wise, why would there be a particular need to brush after breakfast if there's no particular need to brush after other meals?

I am addicted to marmite, which I spread on my bread at breakfast, but the taste is so strong that I feel filthy unless I clean it out of my mouth fairly soon afterwards.

I never saw the point of cleaning teeth as soon as I get up, as I couldn't see there'd be very much change from when I cleaned them just before going to bed. But I didn't have a German teacher to tell me about germs building up in my sleep.

When I child-minded a friend's youngest (in England), the rule of the household was to brush the teeth *before* breakfast. I never understood it...

It's strange to me too, but as the poll results are beginning to reveal, far from unique.

Cleaning my teeth is (almost) the first thing I do after getting out of bed. For some reason I just feel all wrong if I don't have a clean mouth as soon as possible. Then I get completely read for work, pack my bag, fill up a water bottle, occasionally water the garden... then I have breakfast. Sometimes it's actually lunchtime by the time I get round to breakfast.

I should brush after eating, but in practical terms, I rarely have the time.

Janni, OTOH, brushes before eating. I cannot understand this. (It possibly helps that she rarely touches the sorts of food that interact badly to the toothpaste aftertaste. But still -- if brush at all, it should be AFTER the food.)


if brush at all, it should be AFTER the food

It seems so to me too, but I'm learning that the world is a very various place in these matters.

I love this assemblage of animé tooth-brushing!

I eat breakfast every morning, but I only brush, floss, and mouth-wash in the evening before bed. But I am pretty rigorous about doing so.

I love this assemblage of animé tooth-brushing!

Thank you. There are many more Magical Girls series out there that I haven't even watched yet: ultimately I may have something large enough to distribute to dentists' waiting rooms.

I consider brushing my teeth to be part of my hygiene regimen, which means that it's something feel I need to do before it's okay to show myself in public. So on work days I brush my teeth before I leave the house - I don't feel comfortable putting it off until after I've already encountered people. But breakfast is less urgent - it can be eaten after teaching a class, even. Since the priority in the morning is to sleep as much as possible, it's not worth waking up early enough to eat breakfast before hygiene, since I can eat breakfast at work.

But on non-work days, if I'm not in a rush to leave the house, I eat breakfast first.

I can't honestly imagine skipping either breakfast or brushing voluntarily. Such a day could only end in disaster, I feel.

Interesting. Why is breakfast so important to you - if you don't eat it early enough, does it affect your mood or affect you physically? Or is this some kind of routine thing like my toothbrushing is? I mean, yes, I worry that my breath will stink if I leave the house unbrushed, but that isn't really the reason why I have to brush my teeth; it's because it's my routine and I will feel dirty if I don't do my routine regardless of how necessary it is or isn't.

I have spent much of my life really not hungry in the morning and therefore have never found breakfast particularly compulsory on a physical level. Last year I developed health problems for which I was told one palliative measure was to make sure I eat before 10 AM every day, so I have managed to get in the habit of doing it on work days and feel hungrier in the mornings now than I used to, but prior to that experience I didn't notice any immediate bad effects of not eating breakfast.

I usually wake up peckish, but I know that if I'm not hungry now I will be well before lunch, when the only things available will be far less nutritious than muesli. Of course I'm also aware that only Captain Toothbrush stands between me and the depredations of Professor Cavity and his Caries Gang. I'm sure routine also plays a part.

(Deleted comment)
Flour givings? Are they anything like Flour Babies?

oral health care

Apart from this it is also important to analyse your oral health and signs and symptoms you come across. If you have teeth that are white coloured, without any cavities and can chew well, then you need not worry as these are signs of healthy teeth. However, if you have yellow coloured and cavity filled teeth, it may be time to visit the dentist. Additionally, if your teeth pain or shake while chewing something cold or hot, it would mean that you have sensitive teeth. Watch out for signs such as fever, bitter taste and throbbing pain in the tooth that can be symptoms of an abscessed tooth requiring proper dental treatment. http://bit.ly/1RUacoa