Saturday, September 27, 2008

favorite thing friday

A few days before Charlie and I were married in 1994, my mother underwent a major dental reconstruction. Mom previously had her top teeth extracted and was fit with a temporary bridge while her permanent bridge was made.

My mother's dentist gave her strict instructions to avoid certain foods because her temporary bridge would not be as secure as the permanent bridge, and since mom was slated to read a verse at our wedding in front of 200 guests, she promised that she would be careful.

But on the plane ride from South Carolina to Massachusetts, a mere two days before the wedding, mom bit in to a seemingly harmless-to-fragile-dental-work sandwich and nearly died when she looked down to see that her bridge was still in the sandwich when she took it away from her mouth. Mom threw a napkin up to cover her face and leaning over to my Aunt Grace, who was traveling north with her, muttered "Oh NO!"

When Auntie encouraged mom to drop the napkin, she initially panicked - before falling in to a fit of hysteria. My aunt and my mom laughed and laughed. Because there sat the mother of the bride, almost completely toothless.

I've written before that dental hygiene is very important to me.

I have had our children in to see the dentist every four months since the time they were 18-months old, and Henry had his first checkup the same month he turned one. When my mother was in town recently and she watched me struggling with Henry to brush his four little teeth, she casually mentioned that she didn't own a toothbrush until she was seven-years-old.

So. As I was saying.

Good dental hygiene is important. And my mother knows that although she was born during the Depression and before the current day emphasis that is placed upon taking care of one's teeth, mom always made sure I had my teeth cleaned every six months when I was growing up.

For Christmas in 2000, mom bought me an Oral B electric toothbrush.

Up until that time, I had always used a manual toothbrush, and once I made the switch, I couldn't believe the difference. I went on and on about how awesome my new electric toothbrush was and Charlie had such toothbrush envy, he ditched his Reach and went out and bought an Oral B for himself.

For the past eight years, I have used the exact same toothbrush, changing out the heads once every few months. I had no plans to replace my Oral B toothbrush, but very recently, it seemed that whenever I would brush my tongue (I cannot consider any toothbrushing session complete without a good tongue scrubbing), the toothbrush head would come off and get stuck at the back of my throat.

No kidding.

(Does it amaze you as much as it amazes me, the things about my personal life I divulge on this blog?)

The first time it happened, I thought that maybe I needed a new toothbrush head. But when I replaced it - and the same exact thing happened again - I got a little fearful that I was going to die while brushing my teeth.

Instead of running out and buying a new toothbrush (or using one of the 50 manual toothbrushes I have stockpiled from my [nearly] quarterly dental visits), for the next few months, I exercised extreme caution when brushing my tongue to insure that the toothbrush head didn't disconnect from the body, get lodged in my throat, and kill me.

(Seriously, in my mind's eye I could actually see the obituary about how I choked to death on a toothbrush head and I leave behind four small children and a grief-stricken husband.)

All this to say ... I recently bought a new toothbrush.
I had heard great things about the Sonicare from my dentist, but never felt compelled to fork over the $100 (or $170 depending upon the model) until my recent disconnecting-toothbrush head-escapades. Now I can honestly say that as much as I loved my Oral B, I love the Sonicare that much more. The level of clean that is achieved after just one tooth brushing, is comparable to the level of clean one obtains after having just visited the dentist.

From the Philips website:

  • Sonicare achieves its bristle velocity through a combination of high frequency and high amplitude bristle motion.

  • This velocity generates dynamic action.

  • Dynamic action is gentler on dentin than a manual or an oscillating toothbrush. This action cannot be achieved by oscillating, spinning, rotating, or pulsating brushes.

  • The cleaning power of dynamic action, coupled with the specially designed bristle orientation, results in deep penetration of interproximal spaces.

  • This process results in a distinctly different brushing experience.

We purchased the Flexcare at Costco for $169.99. It came with two toothbrushes, a recharger and travel recharger (this is convenient for us since Charlie needs HIS OWN charger because he doesn't like sharing his recharger with me since I do not share the same neurosis about cleaning my toothbrush prior to charging. Whatever. He has his hang ups, he says I have mine) a travel pouch and a UV sanitizer.

If it wasn't so late, I would do a little comparison to the Flexcare that is sold at Costco versus Bed, Bath & Beyond. They also show a sale price of $169.99 but I'm not sure if the package sold at Costco is exactly the same, or slightly expanded. If they are the same, purchasing this toothbrush through Bed, Bath & Beyond (with a coupon) could save you 20%.

Our children are still using inexpensive battery-operated electric toothbrushes, but once they are a little older and not as likely to put their toothbrush in to the toilet, I will consider purchasing a Sonicare for them, too. Because dental hygiene is important to me.

(As for my mom: she visited a dentist in Massachusetts who placed her temporary bridge back in, the day before we exchanged nuptials. She had teeth, but her dental work was incredibly fragile and awkward fitting. I love you mom. Thanks for everything you do for me. And thanks for reading at our wedding. I think the lisp was adorable.)


  1. My dentist has been urging me to get one of those forever now. I ay just have to suck up that price and do it. It's really that much better?

  2. Karen in Buffalo9/27/08, 7:23 AM

    Did Henry sit so nicely in the dentist's chair the whole time? Wow!
    I'll have to check these out at B,B&B (don't have a COSTCO anywhere around here). I had an electric brush (not your brand) several years ago and hated it. It did this pulsating thing that felt like someone was hitting my teeth with a sledgehammer. Gave it about three brushing tries and out it went with the garbage.
    Thanks for the info!

  3. Hey, jen, thanks for the shout out! I am glad you aren't going private. I need my daily dose of laughter.

  4. Hi, I started reading your site a few months ago and always enjoy the fun stories. I'm in dental school (about to graduate) and when I read this one, I thought I could give you a tip with Henry. We're told that if a child resists brushing, then you can let them sit in your lap and cover their arms with your legs - they will definitely squirm, but you're guaranteed better success with brushing. It looks a little funny, but works pretty well (if you're not already doing it this way!).

  5. We just bought one of those too to replace an older model of sonicare. LOVE IT!!

  6. I'm neurotic about dental care also!

    Have been using the sonicare for about 15 years now. I have had only 1 tiny cavity since I started using it.

    I currently have the battery operated Oral B toothbrush for my boys and plan to buy them the Sonicare ones when they get a bit older.

  7. I have always dabbled with the idea of an electric toothbrush, but am afraid it will wear my gum line away. Aren't you afraid you're rubbing your gums right of.

    Yes, I lead a very paranoid life.

  8. Jen, thanks for your blog. I have been contemplating getting a new electric toothbrush, to replace my Oral B. After reading your blog and listening to my brother in law rave about Sonicare RS930, I went to BB&B today and used my 20% off coupon and purchased one. I hate having my dental hygenist scrap, tug and chip away at the plaque that builds up. I have 3 months before my next cleaning and hope that it's less painful now that I have the Sonicare.


  9. Angelle & Andrea:

    YES, the Sonicare is THAT much better. And just today, when I was brushing my teeth, I was thinking how I could NEVER go back to a manual toothbrush again. When you brush with a "standard" toothbrush, you are causing more damage to your gums than you ever would if you were to use the Sonicare.

    In fact, when my sister was diagnosed as an "aggressive brusher" with "receding gums", I bought her a Sonicare (several years ago, even before I bought one for myself) and she said that her Dentist could see a dramatic improvement during her next checkup.

    The technology of the Sonicare is such that it doesn't wear down your gums like "scrubbing" with a toothbrush does.

    The one caveat is that it will take you some time (a few days) to get use to using the Sonicare. It feels really awkward (it tickles) for the first few brushing events. But once you get past that >> I can't ever see wanting to use something else to brush my teeth.

    Good luck, Barb >> you'll have to tell me how your next cleaning goes. I bet you'll be happy!!

  10. I've been wondering if those Sonicare's were worth the price. My mom WAS toothless at my wedding. She has a bunch of teeth pulled and was supposed to have her teeth put in, but they weren't ready. We even were married in West Virginia! lol

  11. That sounds like an awesome toothbrush. But my mom would never spend or let me spend, $170 on a toothbrush.

    She's not a cheapskate, but she's an ice cream lady and most of her profits are going towards school supplies, bills, new clothes, and food.

    Anyhow... love the toothbrush, and the kids seem to like going to the dentist, my brother usually screams bloody murder when he evens see's the dentist office.



  12. Mariah: There are actually two toothbrushes in the $170.00 kit. So, it works out to about $85.00/per toothbrush.

    I know that's VERY pricey for a toothbrush, but I actually think of it as an excellent investment. When you consider, you only have ONE set of permanent teeth and the cost for dental restoration can be extremely expensive (not to mention extremely uncomfortable).

    Aside from that, the electric Oral B that I had, lasted for almost EIGHT YEARS. Sure, I had to replace the toothbrush heads, but I suspect that the Sonicare will last at least that long - if not longer.

    If my assumption is correct about the longevity, that works out to around $10.00 a year, which I think is money very well spent - and probably comparable to what you would spend on an annual supply of "manual" toothbrushes, anyway.