A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.
Dental hygiene is important. Not just because it provides another vital item on the list of things mothers can nag their children about; ‘Have you brushed your teeth yet?’/’We’re not leaving this house until you’ve brushed your teeth!’ but because dentists also say it is important. And dentists wear fancy white coats, spend a long time learning about teeth at university and have a lot of shiny equipment that can inflict a lot of pain, specifically to your back pocket, so it is wise to listen to what they say.
Dentists also have the highest suicide rate of any profession. This is clearly because no one is actually listening to them when they tell us that the plaque we let fester inside our gums is actually fatal to our teeth. So they spend all day looking into our mouths at evil looking items such as plaque, which I am led to believe looks like a cartoon box of popcorn and a donut (thanks Extra Chewing Gum Ads for that one), that is eating away at our tooth enamel whilst we shroud them in bad breath. Don’t be fooled, your dentist is not wearing his little white mask so he doesn’t breath on you, he’s just wearing it so he doesn’t pass out when you open your mouth and his olfactory senses are assaulted by twelve months of below par dental hygiene practices on your part.
With this in mind and with a somewhat misplaced affection for the dental profession and the mental health of my dentist, I like to keep my toothbrush habits tip top. Recently, a toothbrush of mine became rather dog-eared. Being the God fearing, plaque fearing, well actually just not wanting for fork out a holiday to Asia’s worth of funds on filings type, I trotted off to the supermarket in search of a new toothbrush.
Dental hygiene is often depicted with war-like analogies. I don’t know why I expected the purchasing of a toothbrush to be any different. It is clear from this laissez faire sentence that A. I was not adequately prepared and B. Have never really listened to a word my dentist was saying about the ‘seriousness’ of dental hygiene…
The Brush Head
The heads of toothbrushes are huge. There are only certain heads of things of that size that should go in someone’s mouth. And they are ice-creams. Beyond that, nothing of that size should be put in a human mouth covered in white stuff and then pushed in and out with vigour.
Soft, Medium and Hard Heads
The bristles in toothbrushes are classified according to hardness (and here I was thinking the Mohs scale of hardness was limited to gemstones). There seems to be a plethora of Soft and Medium options on the market, but very few hard heads, which is a shame because if we’re honest, no one really wants to put a soft one in there.
89% of toothbrushes advertise that they will reach all of the hard to reach places. Last time I checked, a hard to reach place was the back of the cupboard above the kettle, and the human mouth hadn’t grown a hidden cavity that needed the technological skill of a Navy SEAL team to remove food scraps for it. And yet, the crusade for dental health would have you believe otherwise.
Designs such as the ‘Reach Between Toothbrush’ give the impression that your mouth is actually the Grand Canyon of Dental Plaque and you do need to launch a military precision operation just to remove the remainders of tonight’s dinner. The irony here is that with the size of the heads of toothbrushes these days, most people barely get them past their eye teeth before their gag-reflex kicks in.
I can only conclude that this feature is for the ‘post-life’ of a toothbrush, when after many mouths massaging your gums it then graduates to scrubbing the hard to reach places in the Shrine of Bums. Otherwise known as the toilet.
The suspension on your average toothbrush now rivals that of my $6000 mountain bike. It is spring loaded for flexi-action, it has fancy zig zag patterns which I can only assume assist its aerodynamics and extra cushioning for finger support, which is vital because clearly pumping up and down for 45 seconds is exhausting.
To think that all those times that Wile E. Coyote couldn’t figure out how to jump across the Grand Canyon to catch the Road Runner could have been solved if he’d just listened to his mother and remembered to pack his toothbrush.
I am not sure when the idea of pushing long, hard, motorized sticks of plastic in and out of our mouths became socially acceptable, but dental hygiene companies have taken to the idea with a sense of gusto usually reserved for other kinds of motorized items.
My favourite is the ‘Oral B Triumph 5000 Wireless Smart Guide Toothbrush’, which in an unprecedented feat of engineering, includes a wireless display that provides ‘while-you-brush’ feedback to help promote optimized brushing performance. With 5 customised brushing modes including; Daily Clean, Sensitive, Polish, Massage and Deep Clean for the bargain price of $230, I have concluded that this is purchased by people who have a dentist who looks like ‘Rob the Dentist’ from the Oral B ads, that they desperately need to impress.
Lucky for them, no matter whether they want it to oscillate, pump or vibrate – there is a motorized toothbrush option available. And yes, they also come with hard heads and pink sparkles, in case you were wondering.
Toothbrushes have more special features than my 2014 Limited Edition VW Golf. (And it’s German).
Here’s a few examples…
The ‘Colgate 360 Power Surround’ Toothbrush – cleans teeth with such vigour that the vibrations also double as the bass line for an Avicii track.
The ‘Oral B All Rounder Fresh Clean’ – not only can it clean teeth but it can brush your hair and comb your eyebrows while it’s at it.
The ‘Colgate Plus Twister’ – for those of you who want to boogie while you brush, this toothbrush loves a good dance.
In conclusion, it took me 17 minutes to purchase my toothbrush. For the record, not only does it clean and pump firmly, making me foam at the mouth daily – it also does the cha cha and makes the bed.