Tag Archives: toothbrush

In Praise of a Toothbrush

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The student hygienist at the dental hygiene clinic told me I should use an electric toothbrush. I told her I often had no access to electricity because I work part of the year in a remote location in the mountains. She didn’t tell me about battery operated toothbrushes, but I figured it out on my own.

I was in a Wal-Mart a few weeks before Christmas. I was just doing my normal shopping when I remembered the dental hygience student telling me about electric toothbrushes. I decided to see what the store had to offer. I walked over to the toothbrush aisle, and there was an entire endcap of Arm & Hammer Spinbrushes priced at just $5 each. Oh! That wasn’t too expensive.

[amazon template=image&asin=B0012E0REM]In addition to the Arm & Hammer battery operated brushes, I saw some made by Oral B, and a few from the Wal-Mart Equate brand. Unsurprisingly, the Equate brushes were the least expensive, but I wondered if they ware made as well or would work as well as the name-brand brushes.¬†Even after reading the packages of the different brushes, I couldn’t determine any significant differences. I decided to splurge a little and go for a $5 brush. I grabbed an Arm & Hammer Spinbrush in a color I liked (hot pink) and called it good.

That night I brushed my teeth with the new brush. My teeth felt clearner, slicker, but perhaps I was imagining the difference. Maybe I was experienceing some sort of toothbrush placebo effect.

One night The Man was at my van as I brushed my teeth with my new, powerful brush. I guess I’d been brushing a while because he told me, You’re going to wear your teeth to nubs if you keep at it with that thing. I had to laugh through my toothpaste.

I knew the real proof of the brush’s success would be the plaque score assigned to my teeth when I returned to the dental hygience clinic.

After the preliminaries (checking my blood pressure, checking my neck and face for lumps and bumps, asking about any changes in my medical history in the last month), the student hygienist smeared the substance on my teeth that would make the plaque show pink. Then she counted the pink surfaces of my teeth and used a mathematical formula to calculate my plaque score. After using the Spinbrush for about two weeks, my plaque score dropped from 39% to 16%. (At a subsequent visit after using the Spinbrush for three months, my plaque score was 20.5%)

Before I brought the Spinbrush, I wondered how often I would have to replace the batteries. The batteries that were included with the brush when I purchased it did not last very long, maybe two weeks of brushing twice a day. I replaced those batteries with super cheap batteries from Dollar Tree, and they lasted slightly longer. When I had to replace the batteries a third time, I splurged on Duracells and have gotten much better (longer lasting) results. Many less-expensive items really are as good as their more expensive counterpoints, but I’ve learned with batteries you really do get what you pay for.

If I lived somewhere year round with electricity, I would get an electric toothbrush I could plug in and charge, thus eliminating the waste of dead batteries. Maybe I’ll eventually get a plug-in toothbrush for when I do have access to electricity and just use the battery powered one when I’m in the woods. For now, I’ll continue to buy batteries for my Arm & Hammer Spinbrush.