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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: The other day my wife of 45 years was cleaning our bathroom and I popped in to ask her a question. I saw her remove my denture brush from the cup and begin cleaning the cracks and crevices of the bathroom with it.

When she realized I was watching her, she said, "Oops, busted! Oh, well, it's not like you put it in your mouth." She also admitted it wasn't the first time. Do you think I should be concerned? -- BRUSHED OFF IN WISCONSIN

DEAR BRUSHED OFF: You absolutely should be concerned. Although the denture brush doesn't go into your mouth, it does have contact with the appliances that do. Your wife's behavior could be a sign of ignorance or bad judgment, but it could also be a sign of senility. This should be reported to your doctor, who should explain to your wife how ill-advised this practice is -- or give her a diagnosis.

DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, after much searching, I found the love of my life, "Laura," and we were married. Most of our time together is harmonious; the remainder is volatile.

Laura is insanely jealous of practically everything I do. The most recent episode was over a junk e-mail she had seen in my inbox. She asked me about it as we were going to bed, and I told her I had no idea what it was. The next day she asked me to look for it. I did, but I couldn't find it. Laura then accused me of hiding and deleting it. Well, I always delete the "spam" e-mail I receive.

Laura had a horrible first marriage and was wronged in the divorce. She keeps telling me it isn't the reason for her suspicions, but it's hard to believe that doesn't play a part. These arguments are horrible and are causing trouble in our marriage. I am open and honest with her, and I truly want to be with her for the rest of my life. But her doubts, fears and mistrust are driving me crazy. What do I do? -- UNDER CONSTANT ATTACK IN TEMPE, ARIZ.

DEAR UNDER ATTACK: If you want your marriage to survive, tell Laura that although you love her, you will no longer tolerate her inability to trust you and the volatile scenes her insecurity has caused.

Whatever is driving her paranoia, she needs to work it through with a licensed mental health professional. Because she may be resistant to the idea, start by insisting you both see a marriage counselor. That person can be an ally in guiding her into the counseling she seriously needs. I wish you luck, because I suspect her issues go back farther than her first marriage.

DEAR ABBY: With the push in stores to buy their reusable shopping bags, I was wondering what the rule is about bringing bags from different stores. Is it rude if I use bags I purchased from somewhere else? -- SHOPPING GREEN IN BLOOMFIELD, N.M.

DEAR SHOPPING GREEN: Not at all. Stores are in the business of selling merchandise, and if they can bring in money and at the same time promote their brand by selling bags with their logo, that's a double bang for their buck. But please don't feel obligated to use store-brand shopping bags in every establishment you patronize -- or you'll wind up owning more than you can reasonably use. And that's not budget-wise or "green" either.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)