steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

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
Tags: madoka, maunderings, nippon notes, polls
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