Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Trauma of a New Toothbrush

There's really no surprise in this post. This is about switching to a new toothbrush. I'll try not to make it too tedious.

To say the least, I get attached to things. People, pens, places, ideas, dogs, colors, foods, pillows, songs, shoes, you name it. My parents claim that, in my youth, I once cried over a toilet being replaced in our bathroom. My only recollection of it are the memories that have been placed in my mind by repeated storytelling, so you'll have to take up the veracity of the incident with them.

So when I got a toothbrush for Easter (they always come with our chocolate in our baskets as a friendly reminder) and it was the kind with a squishy, comfortable hold and firm, healthy feeling bristles, it was not hard for me to find the will to brush my teeth for a little longer every day.

The thing about anything you get attached to is that it doesn't necessarily last forever. I know that toothbrushes are supposed to be replaced every three months or so. My dentist even recommends putting them in the dishwasher once a week to make sure they're kept clean (which I've never done, but hey, it does make sense...kinda). But when new batches of prim, plastic-packaged toothbrushes appeared in my bathroom cupboards a few months later, I couldn't bring myself to toss my current toothbrush into the cleaning closet.

(Brief aside: please appreciate how painful this is for me. I've been to half a dozen thesaurus sites, and these are the synonyms I come up with for "toothbrush": besom (wha...?), broom, hairbrush, polisher, sweeper, whisk. Who on earth puts "hairbrush" and "whisk" in that list?! So we'll all have to suffer from me repetitively writing "toothbrush" unless I think of an alternate word later on. I'm terribly sorry for this lack of creativity.)

So I kept it. I mean, the bristles were still good, the thumb pad was comforting and I'd finally gotten used to using a pink toothbrush, so why change? And who jumps at the chance to put as many foreign objects into their mouths in succession on the pretense of cleaning them? I want a tool I can befriend and trust!

Now, I share a bathroom with my older brother. It's funny to watch the evolution of his toothbrushes. No one takes better care of his or her own teeth than he does. And he brushes so long and hard every day that his bristles become frayed by the end of the month (forgive me, bro, if I am disclosing personal information to The Internets. I'm trying to praise you here). Consequently, he goes through toothbrushes abnormally quickly. I've witnessed many a turquoise blue and neon green and bright purple pass through our toothbrush cup next to my constant pink Colgate. And it occurred to me that, however loveable and comfortable I am with my toothbrush, it may not be the wisest thing to keep around.

So I did the impossible. I considered my pink toothbrush. The "Colgate 360" insignia was rubbed almost completely off, and I'm sure, were it scanned, the rubber grip would have a perfect thumbprint impression in it by now. I had used this dental scrubber (I tried. I won't try again) for more than a year--yeah, I bet you thought that, by Easter, I meant two and a half months ago, but it was last year's spring; I was not kidding when I say I get attached to things. So I decided to try something new.

My new toothbrush isn't terribly perfect. Its bristles aren't as firm as the last one. The grip is frustratingly slippery and totally plastic. Its color is pale and unthrilling. And, quite honestly, I feel somewhat violated, cleansing my mouth with this new, alien thing.

In short, I don't like it. But I'm going to give it time. Because, when you think about it, change is healthy. It's not always bad. It prompts progression. And, really, it's handicapping to see every change as an ending. So here's to a new beginning.


  1. I'm laughing so hard I can barely type. Oh how I love you, Miriam! Also, your brother's toothbrushing habits remind me of my mother's. Same mania. :)

  2. Whoops! Sorry to delete. Love it! You and your attachment to inanimate objects. Sometimes I wonder. Ah well. Keep brushing, kid!

  3. I hate the feeling of new toothbrush, I totally understand you. :]

  4. Oh, you really are emotionally-attached to your former toilet! Well, it's really hard to let go of the things that you find special. But most things come and go for your own sake, just like how a toothbrush should be changed every 3 months. And LOL @ your brother's brush. You just bared his secret! LOL!

    >Emmy Summers

  5. May I offer you my dentist’s advice? Find some ways to sterilize your toothbrush to keep it germ-free. There are home techniques you can do, like submerging the toothbrush in hot or boiling water for up to an hour, to thoroughly clean your toothbrush before putting it back inside your mouth.

    Trinidad Philipps