on tico wisdom, clean teeth, and wisdom teeth.

20 October 2011 § Leave a comment

Ticos seem to brush their teeth incredibly often. And it’s not like they’re just trying to freshen up after eating a clove of garlic. At least once a day I see a guy in a public bathroom attacking his molars with a bristled battle axe, sticking to the one-minute rule as if he’s going to get a piece of candy at the end of it.

It’s not like I hang out in the bathroom all day, either. I mean, they’re clean here at the university, but they don’t make very comfortable writing spaces – unless the point is to make other people uncomfortable – and after having to pay greasy fat women two euros to use the gents’ in Europe – even in very small towns and public parks – I’m not a fan of spending a lot of time in them. So you can see how, in the many, many times I use a public restroom per day (once, maybe twice), if I saw someone brushing their teeth as often as I urinate, my suspicions might rise, like:

1. Do ticos carry an extra toothbrush in their pocket? Do they grab the one from home, or keep one in their backpack?
2. Should I brush my teeth whenever I use the restroom?
3. I’ve gotten really strange looks when I’ve brushed my teeth in a public restroom in the states. In Europe, too. When you don’t have a bathroom to call your own, sometimes it’s necessary.
and finally,
4. US Americans don’t brush their teeth very often.

Needless to say, ticos in general have very clean teeth. Not necessarily good teeth, which is strange, given the remarkable number of dental clinics in San José, but clean teeth nonetheless. But they don’t smile so much. Not as much as the giddy blonde girls with the loud voices and confused looks.

and lettuce stuck in their smile.

A couple of months ago, I hired two very determined individuals to forcefully cut my wisdom teeth out with a machete. It was my first time to any sort of tooth care professional in years. I don’t remember much, because when they take a machete to your mouth, they give you drugs to make you not remember the machete. But I distinctly remember a machete. I didn’t even get a free toothbrush when I walked out of the office with gauze balls in my mouth to keep the blood from running rapids through the streets of Anchorage. Consider it my O Positive donation to the world. I don’t like needles.

The point is, I need a new toothbrush. And care about my teeth more. The Costa Ricans seem to be on to something.

(and in my experience, it is not eco-friendliness. but we’ll save that for another time)


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