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I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

R.I.P. Sonicare

Well, my good old space age toothbrush finally died, after eight good years. Actually, it didn't technically die; I put it down. I won't go into too much detail because it's a fairly disgusting tale, but suffice to say it got too gross to keep. This eight-year-old version of the Sonicare had an empty chamber in the area where the replaceable head attached. It seems that small amounts of water began to find their way into this chamber, and after awhile things began to grow in there. I tried a regular cleaning with a Q-tip and tea tree oil, but little bits of mold kept returning. So finally I stopped using it, and just let my Old Man use it exclusively so that we wouldn't have to switch the heads and the dastardly material could be sealed away within until a new electric toothbrush could be purchased. In the mean time, I just used an old fashioned toothbrush with bristles powered by me and me alone.

When I finally got a bit of time to go out and buy a new electric toothbrush I decided that, rather than get a new Sonicare, I would make a bold move and defect to the Braun-Oral B camp. I'd been fascinated by Braun electric toothbrushes for awhile because, while the Sonicare's bristles just vibrate back and forth really really really fast, the bristles of the Braun electric brushes actually whirl in circles really really really fast. This reminds me more of having my teeth cleaned at the dentist, which kind of excites me. In a totally non-sexual way (as far as I'm consciously aware.)

I had planned to go out, bite the bullet, and buy one of the nice expensive Braun-Oral Bs, which run between $70.00 and $100.00. This is in the neighborhood of what I paid for the Sonicare way back when. (I would never in a million years pay $100 for a pair of jeans, but an electric toothbrush is another story.) When I got to the dental care aisle at Walgreens, however, they had a $20 Braun out there for anyone to grab, but the really expensive toothbrushes were in a locked plexiglass case. (Weird. Who shoplifts an electric toothbrush?) Because I have a full-time job and two small children, I run any and all errands within a window much too small to actually take care of the task in a considered and thorough way. The five minutes it would've taken me to find a clerk would have put me behind my schedule, and so I made a quick decision to try the $20 toothbrush. I elected not to buy extra heads for it though, in case I hated it and wanted to return it.

When I got it home and tried it, I regretted my decision to go for the Braun Vitality, the cheap version. It was really loud, even louder than the fairly noisy Sonicare, and it was rough. Its action reminded me a bit of the grinder attachment on a dentist's drill. (And however much I may love going to the dentist, I do not love the drill in any form.) The first time I used it, it made my gums hurt, which seemed bad (even though the accompanying material noted that this might happen, and suggested that it would be a temporary effect). I planned to repackage the toothbrush and return it at my next opportunity, opting for the more expensive version, which I assumed would be more suave.

The receipt was inadvertently thrown away, though, and a scramble to find it in the dumpster ended in frustration. And so I ended up keeping the cheap Braun, and I continued to use it, and over time began to get used to its loud, rough ways. After a few days my gums stopped hurting. But since I hadn't gotten extra heads for the Braun, my Old Man had to keep using the Sonicare. I figured I'd eventually go out and either get more heads for the Braun Vitality or spring for one of the more pricey Brauns. (I also entertained scenarios where I tried to parlay my Oral Hygiene blog brand into a free pricey Braun, but a woman who does not have time to go out and buy a new toothbrush has no time to write letters trying to weasel a free toothbrush out of corporate America. So far none of my free oral hygiene swag has included an electric brush.)

The other day, though, I grabbed my old Sonicare out of habit, twisted open the replaceable head, and was met with a horror show inside. Yech. Not just a bit of something shadowing the edges, but a full on mini-zoo of fungal disgustingness. I chucked the thing immediately in the trash, feeling guilty that I'd let my husband use a toothbrush that had that horrible stew slowly brewing within.

So now it's time to either buy an additional head for my rough and ready new toothbrush so I can share it with the Old Man, or shell out for the expensive version of it. Or I could go back to the Sonicare family. What's an oral hygiene queen to do?

8 Comments:

Blogger Orange said...

Let Consumer Reports guide you. They covered electric toothbrushes in March. Upshot: (1) Oral-B Triumph Professional Care 9400 spins, costs $130, has 3 speeds, and gets a rating of 82 (excellent). (2) Philips Sonicare FlexCare 910 is sonic, costs $140, has 5 speeds, rating 81. (3) Oral-B Professional Care 7400 spins, $70, 1 speed, rating71 (very good). Models (1) and (3) have been discontinued (of course!), but similar models are available.

The Vitality gets a rating of 61 and isn't as good at removing plaque as the others.

5:30 AM  
Anonymous DoctorMama said...

I'm just amused at the names. Vitality? (And: you do know what electric toothbrushes are often repurposed for, don't you? Which would partly explain the locking up ...)

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

E - Ha! SAME THING just happened to me. I, too, had the old-style Sonicare with the poorly designed head/cup thing going on. Power outage in my older building caused it to blow out (it wasn't on a surge protector) and I have to admit I was kinda happy. I hated cleaning that thing. Was also seduced by the $20 Braun, which was just so rough I couldn't use more than once.

Finally bought the Sonicare "Healthy White" with two modes (they have a higher end model with three modes) for $109 at Target. When "used consistently for two weeks" on the "White and Clean" mode, it supposed to make your teeth two shades whiter. Not sure if that happened, but really like this one. The "White and Clean" mode is definitely more intense than the regular mode, but not in any way painful.

This version has a far, far better head placement design - there no cup to clean out - in fact it's pretty much the same design as the one on the $20 Braun. Water can still get on there, but it's much easier to pop the head off and dry it off if you need to.

There's no circular motion, on this one, if you're really looking for it, but ... it does seem upgraded overall from the last design and slightly more intense, even on "standard mode".

- E from Seattle

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Lord. Communicating in PowerPoint blurbs for the past several years has RUINED my writing. Ruined it!

- E from Seattle

10:12 PM  
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7:22 AM  
Blogger Jake Andersen, DMD said...

I've found that the best resource for choosing a new electric toothbrush is Amazon. There are plenty of users who have tried many different models of both main brands (Sonicare and Oral B) - and you can get a great idea of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Electric toothbrush said...

As with guide tooth brushes, it is suggested to substitute the soft-bristled leads every three to four months, to make sure maximum washing results. Some electric Electric toothbrush are made with special features, such as gum massage and lightening, as well bristles for delicate tooth.

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