From the Blog

I Don’t Need My Toothbrush to Entertain Me

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This has happened a couple of times. When it’s time for a new toothbrush, I agonize over a full half an aisle of choices. It takes me at least 30 minutes to look at them all. I have a few simple, unalienable requirements: Soft bristles, small head, and on sale. It’s silly to pay five dollars for a toothbrush. Five dollars can buy a triple white chocolate mocha. Let’s not confuse our priorities.

Toothbrushes are a good example of a grander irritation of mine in respect to grocery consumerism. It can’t just be a “toothbrush.” It has to have sparkly packaging and it has to be NEW in some way, or IMPROVED in some other way. The speed of toothbrush technological advancement is such that every 3 or 4 or 5 months when I get a new toothbrush, I have a bunch of new choices I didn’t have before. Toothbrushes are evolving at such a breakneck pace, we must have brushed with twigs and rocks as children.

And the toothbrush can’t just brush my teeth, it has to massage my gums also, or scrape my tongue. My dirty, dirty tongue. And somehow, it seems important that toothbrushes look all aggressive and athletic. Like, “We’re fucking brushing our teeth over here, motherfucker!”

Toothbrushes have plastic pointy bits, or swirly bristles, or bristles going in different directions. And the handles need various molded grips and plastic nubs and squishy “gel” so I don’t lose my grip when I brush my teeth in space.

By nature, when I am confronted with these choices, my irritation leads me to get the plainest, most non-silly toothbrush I can find. Whatever my grandparents used. That’s what I want.

But do you know how hard it is to find a toothbrush without gimmicks or sparkly things? In that whole glittering half an aisle devoted to the Church of Oral Care? I picked the plainest toothbrush I could find, that had a small head (for my little, little mouth) and soft bristles. I went home, threw out my old toothbrush and tried the new one. Those “soft” bristles were as stiff as a steel BBQ grill brush. Goddamnit!

This has happened before. I bought this same type of toothbrush and I remember the bristles were too damn stiff. I thought it was a fluke, or I had picked a “medium” toothbrush by accident. It was like brushing my teeth with a brick. My gums were sore after one use, and recoiled in horror every use afterward. I probably picked that same toothbrush last time for the same reason: it was the least glittery.

So I’m trying to be thrifty, and it seems stupid to throw out a new toothbrush. And I just did not want to go back to that same goddamned toothbrush aisle and go through the whole process again. I tried to brush softly and get used to my new brush. Was not happening. My gums were sore and I had visions of all my teeth falling out.

I like my teeth. So I resolved to get a new toothbrush next time I was in the grocery store. It happened my next grocery trip was Trader Joe’s. And I wasn’t thinking of getting a toothbrush there, because they have, you know, new agey toothbrushes. I don’t want to have hippie teeth.

But I looked the toothbrushes over. They only had one brand. They were all plain. Maybe two or three different colors. And they had an intriguing category: “Ultra Soft.” I picked one up.

I got home and tried it out. Good lord, it was sweet heaven. It was like brushing my teeth with the fur of a soft, white, well-behaved kitten. Or a bunny. The handle was good, and I dare say, ergonomic. Nearly elegant. I didn’t want to stop brushing. I have never felt this way about a toothbrush.

And the plastic is from recycled somethingorother, like car bumpers or wastebaskets or polar bear poop or something. I get to be self righteous about my tooth brushing also.

I just can’t tell you how happy I am that I don’t ever have to go back to the Church of Oral Care at the grocery store. I feel like I have been freed, or born again, or whatever.

Now, I will just need to tackle the snack cracker and cookie aisle. It’s an outrage that there’s 17 different kind of Cheez Its and 13 different kinds of Oreos.


  1. Hey–your blog is loading faster!

    In unrelated news, that post was hilarious. Church of Oral Care. Ha ha ha.

  2. Laughed my arse off! I miss you!

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