RICHARD ORD: A brush with the tooth detectives

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“IT is dry,” our Bradley screamed across the hallway, “his toothbrush is dry!”

Like Sherlock Holmes producing the key piece of evidence to finally nail Moriarty, our Bradley, 13, strode into the bedroom holding the toothbrush aloft.

His brother was bang to rights … he hadn’t brushed his teeth.

There’s no greater pleasure in life for a brother than getting a sibling into trouble.

I enjoyed it when I was a lad, and so it is today with our two boys, Bradley and Isaac, 10.

In the Illuminating Case of the Unused Toothbrush, our Bradley had found the key piece of evidence that proved Isaac hadn’t brushed his teeth.

How can his toothbrush be dry if he has, as he claimed, brushed his teeth?

Getting Isaac to brush his gnashers is a full-time job in our house. He hates it. If you don’t stand in the bathroom and watch him, he will simply waft the toothbrush in the general direction of his mouth and then get off to bed.

If he suspects a parent is within a few yards, he may add toothpaste to the brush, but unless you’re standing over him, fluoride will make no contact with enamel.

A recent survey by Public Health England revealed that one in 10 three-year-olds were suffering from tooth decay. It prompted a crackdown from my wife. I was put on Toothbrush Watch, which means I have to watch our Isaac when he brushes his teeth.

What a palaver. He barely puts any paste on and insists on brushing with his back to anyone watching.

Pointing out that his breath will smell and his rotten teeth will put the girls off is, to a 10-year-old, a positive not a negative.

Like all modern parents I got down to his level and talked him through benefits of good healthy teeth and hoped that he could brush them to his parents’ satisfaction. And like all modern parents, when he ignored me, I got him in a headlock and scrubbed them myself.

The piece de resistance of GumGate came this week when he discovered that some countries refuse to put fluoride in their drinking water for fear of health problems.

Any claims that he was refusing to brush his teeth on environmental ground held no water with me.

Though, it’s fair to say, he does have the greenest teeth in his school!