Dear Abby, Help! My Husband is Addicted to 31 Flavors

31 Flavors of toothpaste, that is. You guessed it; there is more to it.
Dear Abby,

Help! My husband has gone berserk! Ever since a woman at work said his teeth looked like "a brown picket fence."

He has spend hours brushing, gargling, swirling, and bleaching, before breakfast, then after breakfast. He takes so long, he is late for work. Then when he gets home, he rushes to the bathroom sink and turns on the electric toothbrush, buzzing, and humming along for an hour, and sometimes more, picking from his collection of 31 toothpastes (you know, his idea of 31 Flavors!).

All this time the water is running in the sink; just think what this crazy compulsion of his is doing to our water bill. Please help! I've tried reasoning with him. His sister has tried. Even the children make fun. Yet, for some reason, he is compelled to brush his teeth trying to get them "as white as a sheet of paper."

I don't know what has gotten into him. Normally I can't pry him from his recliner in front of the TV. Now he hardly watches the TV, he just stares into his hand mirror, smiling, smirking, grinning, looking for a sparkle that isn't there. I have run out of ideas. What can I do? Please, Abby, help!

Distressed in Detroit


Dear Distressed in Detroit,

This is about the only addiction that has a positive outcome. His compulsion surely has made his teeth more like a "white" picket fence. Your goal is not to get him to stop, but to breed some reality into his actions.

Your bathroom is not a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop offering 31 Flavors. Try to get him to pick one toothpaste and stick to it. Listen, Honey, you may be missing the spark here. Yes, you mentioned a "woman at work." Hmmm. Sounds like you and hubby are in the middle age group where lures of youth can often turn one's life into a whopper. Right now, go ahead and let him brush and brush.

Why not visit him at work, maybe on a special day like Valentine's Day. Surprise him at his desk. Then ask him to point out the woman who said his teeth looked like a "brown" picket fence. Whitening his teeth may not be his real motive. Good luck, Distressed in Detroit.

Published: 4/9/2014
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