See, I opened a new toothbrush recently.
I replace my toothbrush roughly as often as the manufacturers say you're supposed to, and I am not what you might call a savvy, educated, thoughtful toothbrush shopper. I buy several at the same time (like, three for Best Beloved and three for me), and my criteria are:
- In any given set, mine should all be similar in color, and that color should be different from Best Beloved's. No toothbrush co-mingling in this household, thanks. Ick.
- They should be all different brands and styles.
- They must be cool. My definition of coolness as applied to toothbrushes is, "really unnecessary add-ons, given that the product is intended merely to brush one's teeth." Like, I want multiple bristle colors. I want the package to go on and on about the weird angle of the toothbrush, and how it is scientifically proven to be the best damn angle a toothbrush can have. I want a sleek contour grip, ideally with several textures of plastic. If they sold a toothbrush with the Batman logo and a special plaque-fighting batarang shape, I would buy that one instantly and uncritically.
You would think that a person would know if she was buying an electric toothbrush, but the thing is, this one doesn't look any different. The package was slightly larger than usual, but the toothbrush inside looks just the same. And it has four colors of bristles in three separate materials, so I was pretty much in love with it at first sight. I would probably have bought it if the package said, "Attention: this toothbrush will kill you."
It was not until I opened the package that I realized it was electric. (Even then, I didn't, you know, actually read the package. I noticed it was a little heavier than a usual one. And then I looked at it and thought, huh. What are these two little button-like things right here? Well, this one doesn't do anything, but that one - whoa. At that point, it was pretty obvious that the other one was the off button. And then I went to show Best Beloved, because a battery-operated toothbrush isn't a secret you should keep in a healthy marriage.)
It's not a bad toothbrush, per se. It's not the best design on the planet, maybe, but it works, and the vibration certainly adds an interesting extra wrinkle to the dental hygiene experience. It's just - okay, I feel like I'm brushing my teeth with a sex toy, for one thing. That's not a relationship I'm comfortable having with my teeth. For years, they've bitten whatever I told them to bite and I, in return, have brushed and flossed them and sometimes taken them to the dentist. And it worked, you know? We were in a good place, my teeth and me. But now I'm massaging them in a way that seems, well, a little too personal.
It also leads to unfortunate thoughts while I'm brushing. Like, this morning I spent a couple minutes thinking about all the teenagers who are going to have Experiences of Sexual Awakening with one of these things. Because, okay. If I want a vibrator, I can just buy one, but teenagers have a harder time with that. Anyone can buy a toothbrush, though. (Anyone can also buy mouthwash, which was the Oral Product Most Purchased by Teenagers for Nefarious Off-Label Purposes in my youth. Note for any easily-influenced individuals out there: ew, ew, ew.)
I really hope they remember to use the right end. Attention, teenagers: if you're going to masturbate with a toothbrush, use the non-bristle end. Bristles are nice for teeth, but your more personal regions generally do best with something less scratchy. (And, wow. How awful would it be to have to explain that no, it isn't beard burn, it's bristle burn?) Also, please have some class and buy your own toothbrush for your private, non-dental uses. There is no relationship so close that it's okay to masturbate with something that that person will later use to brush his (or her) teeth. I mean, unless it's a shared kink, in which case I won't judge. Much.
So I think these thoughts, about the various uses of a vibrating toothbrush, and then I'm done and it's time to rinse out my mouth. Which is where I encounter the major design flaw with this thing, the flaw that makes me wonder if it is intended to be a marital aid, and the toothbrush part is just a decoy. Because it's really, really hard to turn it off while it's still in my mouth. The buttons are in the wrong place, and you have to press them very hard, and that's hard to do while the thing is vibrating. So I end up taking it out and then turning it off.
My mouth is of course full of foam at this point. Also, I'm still mostly thinking about sex toys. And half the time I'm not fully awake. So, naturally, little specks of foam fly everywhere, for the entire thirty seconds or so it takes me to find the off switch. And also I swear out loud about this, and remember what's in my mouth? Well, I never do, and I end up getting foam all over my chest.
In short, I managed to purchase an appliance that turns me from a mature adult fully capable of achieving responsibility for her own dental care to a revolting pervert covered in toothpaste.
Yay me. And a double yay goes out to the fine toothbrush designers at Oral-B. I'd write a letter of complaint, but I don't want to jeopardize those Experiences of Sexual Awakening. Far be it from me to stand in the way of people achieving intimacy with their oral care products.