Electric toothbrushes and going digital with dental care | Jack Marshall’s column

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Evangelical doesn’t quite cover it, because that suggests the fervour with which my mother spoke had been built gradually over time, settling into staunchly calm and unshakable belief. This wasn’t nearly as controlled; it was more like the vibrating zeal of the newly-converted, all eager impatience and excitement. She’d just discovered electric toothbrushes.

Of course, she’d known about the concept of electric toothbrushes - me and my brother had some snazzy kids’ editions when we were younger, a pair of colourfully garish nightmares dreamed up in some grey boardroom to get kids to pester their parents for £12.99-worth of plastic, battery acid, and noise. But, until now, she’d never been personally converted.

But a recent trip to the dentist had frankly stunned her. Not in a negative, surgery-demanding sense, but the space-age gadgets and state-of-the-art gleam of the experience had definitely left an impression. Following an inspection, a deep-clean to rid her of an inevitable layer of hard-to-reach tea-caused plaque, and something called a bone density x-ray, that was that.

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An electric toothbrush was swiftly purchased and a barrage of texts along the lines of ‘it’s like a professional clean every time!’ and ‘the vibrations make my nose itch!’ came flooding through. She was utterly hooked. Keen for me to avoid decades in the dental dark ages, she wordlessly bought and sent me one too. “Try it!” she commanded. “See what you think!”

The fabled electric toothbrushThe fabled electric toothbrush
The fabled electric toothbrush

Aside from that aforementioned childhood experience, I’ve always had a manual toothbrush, never really buying the hype and ‘97% of dentists agree’ mythology around a machine which fundamentally, in my eyes, scrubbed less hard than me anyways. But even my girlfriend has an astonishingly loud and fancy electric toothbrush, calling my trusty Aldi version ‘Amish’.

So I thought I’d give it a go. The brush-head seemed impossibly tiny, designed to squat on individual teeth as opposed to entire rows of molars like my Amish own-brand brush, but it was fine. Call it the placebo effect, but I did feel like it gave me a deeper clean. As soon as I get my dental degree, you can make it ‘98% of dentists agree’, Colgate.

What can I say? Colour my canines converted.

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