846: Dental Nerve

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Dental Nerve
WAKE up in the MORning and my BREATh ain't PRETty / and noBODY'S gonna KISS me if my MOUTH smells SHItty / so I ALways brush my TEETH before I START on the JACK / sure, my DRINKing's out of HAND, but I'm conTROLLing my PLAQUE.
Title text: WAKE up in the MORning and my BREATh ain't PRETty / and noBODY'S gonna KISS me if my MOUTH smells SHItty / so I ALways brush my TEETH before I START on the JACK / sure, my DRINKing's out of HAND, but I'm conTROLLing my PLAQUE.


Ke$ha is a pop/rap singer, and this strip refers to her 2009-10 hit single "Tik Tok." The song begins with the following lyrics, of which the title text is a parody:

Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy
Grab my glasses, I'm out the door, I'm gonna hit this city
Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack
'Cause when I leave for the night, I ain't coming back.

A "bottle of Jack" refers to the Jack Daniel's brand of whiskey.

The strip depicts Megan warning Ke$ha not to neglect dental hygiene by using whiskey instead of toothpaste to freshen her breath, due to the severe pain that could result if she let the nerves in her teeth become infected. The title text displays dental-hygiene-friendly lyrics, with emphasis on certain syllables (as all-caps) to imitate the rhythm of the original song.


Megan: Dear Ke$ha,
Megan: It's hard to describe the pain of a deeply infected dental nerve.
[Megan putting her hands in a bowl.]
Megan: To get an idea, put your hands in a bowl full of ice cubes. Hold them there for 90 seconds.
Megan: Now imagine that pain in your jaw, every minute of every hour, bright and searing, washing out everything. You can't party all night. You can barely stand up. There's only the pain.
Megan: So, some friendly advice: When you wake up in the morning, before you brush your teeth with a bottle of Jack,
Megan: Brush them with actual toothpaste.

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Modern science has yet to come up with any plausible theories as to why Ke$ha would even want to brush her teeth with a bottle of Jack Daniel's in the first place. 20:33, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

How important is brushing and flossing really? Take a look at these Before & After images courtesy of a Shellharbour Dentist (http://shellharbourcitydental.com.au) (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The page was the home page with no obvious link to whatever.

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 19:41, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Is this the before and after pictures you were talking about? https://www.shellharbourcitydental.com.au/view-results Alissa92 (talk) 17:58, 17 June 2019 (UTC) What's with the stressed syllables in caps in the title text? 12:02, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

It's to clarify which syllables are stressed. If you read it that way, it sounds like the original lyrics. Mezgrman (talk) 18:08, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Obviously brushing one’s teeth with a bottle of Jack is not ideal, but I am somewhat curious whether it would be better than nothing, and if so how much. The actual damage is done by bacteria, which presumably do not appreciate the alcohol. 19:32, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

After a bit of research I found that alcohol is in fact pretty bad for your mouth (dries it out; does damage to gums etc.). I don’t drink; I have no idea whether I’d have known that if I actually did drink or not. 19:40, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

Many types of mouth cleansing fluid use alcohol for disinfection; bacteria don't appreciate that. However, booze'll never manage to remove food leftovers from your teeth (mostly done by the brush, with help of the toothpaste), and it won't help strengthen the teeth (the toothpaste's fluoride) either. Apparently alcohol can also harm your gums, which would indirectly harm your teeth. Result: in the very short term, alcohol would clean your teeth, but in the longer run, the remaining food traces would attract bacteria again within minutes, your teeth would be weaker after a period without fluoride, and gum harm might cause teeth harm if you kept going like this for a long time. Sounds like alcohol could be an emergency solution in the wilderness? Or use it to disinfect a shared toothbrush!