Thursday, April 26, 2007

toothbrush

When I met my friend Mike, he had an enormous basketball-sized lump under his shirt. A big man anyway, this immense bulge was riveting. It moved independently of his body and was a wild thing when he laughed.

As these things happen, Mike and I became great friends while working the 2 a.m. shift at Florafax. He is one of the funniest men I've ever known, incredibly smart, creative, talented. We were both hiding out from the real world of work suitable to our talents, and in those late nights alone together, we developed a fine friendship and an unusual intimacy.

Eventually I heard the story of the lump. Mike had been a happy go lucky guy, living and working, having a family. A little belly pain sent him to the doctor. Uh oh, diverticulosis. Dietary changes, watching it. Got worse.

Diverticulitis developed. I am trying to recall these medical terms from 18 years ago, the "itis" and "osis" may be inaccurate, but suffice to say he got big belly pain and ended up in the hospital. Surgery to remove the infected part of his small intestine which, it turned out, had big portions of dead tissue.

Cut it out, stitched it up, closed him up and he was no better. Massive infection ~ peritonitis? I think that was it. Opened him up again. The stitched together portions of small intestine were dead and the stitches broke apart, creating massive inflammation. A horror for my sweet friend.

Colostomy and ICU for months. Another three years healing from this disaster and during that time, he developed a small lump on his tummy over the incision. The lump grew as his health improved. He was able to have the colostomy reversed and the hernia repaired, but it broke free again.

As it grew larger and larger, Mike found he could not face another abdominal surgery. Just couldn't do it, thus the seemingly living entity beneath his shirt. As giant hernias will, this one eventually strangulated ~ is that the term? ~ and he had to have an emergency surgery to repair it. The subsequent huge piece of mesh secured the bulge and he has been flat-tummied ever since. Yay Mike.

What caused this disaster? Toothbrush bristles. Three of them which, according to the first surgeon, embedded themselves in his intestinal wall and created the infection which preceded the diagnosis of divertulosis. Toothbrush bristles.

I've related this cautionary tale just to ask this: What kind of toothbrush do you use? I haven't been able to find a good one now for a year. My teeth are white and shiny, but they don't feel right, not slick enough. I've bought bristly toothbrushes with rubber insides, oddly shaped brushes, hard ones, soft ones, medium. Nothing works. Obviously, I want one with bristles firmly affixed to the head (poor Mike), but where to go from here? Is it the toothpaste? The only thing that makes them feel right is baking soda ~ nasty. I just had them cleaned and do so every six months, but something's not right. I miss my slick teeth. Suggestions?

16 Comments:

Blogger David said...

Honestly, I have no idea what kind of toothbrush I use. I do use the extra soft kind, because through years of aggressive brushing I have seriously eroded my gums and have to be very careful about this now. Even with the extra soft, my teeth feel fine to me. But not necessarily fresh from the dentist.

In the same way that your hair never looks as good as it does (or did in my case) when you leave the salon, your teeth never feel as slick as when you've just left your dental cleaning. Just one of those things. Although I do hear people rave about those sonicaire thingys. I just can't afford one right now.

April 26, 2007 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Tater said...

Oral B extra soft, for the same reason david mentions in his comment. I believe in the world of sobriety, the lack of having the proper clean teeth feeling after brushing is what is referred to as a "luxury problem". *ahem* now back to fixing the world please! ;) (sorry, just had to sweetie!)

April 26, 2007 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Joe / Kusala said...

Talk to your hygienist at your next cleaning. Be very wary of using anything harder than Soft bristles; as David wrote, it can seriously damage your gums, and can probably damage the enamel too.

I personally use the standard Reach toothbrushes, and try to replace them every 3 months as recommended. I know what you mean about not always getting that "slick" feeling.

Ask your hygienist/dentist if they notice anything different about the condition of your enamel.

April 26, 2007 12:46 PM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

I second (fourth) the soft bristles thing. I used to HATE soft bristles -- felt like it was just mushing the plaque around instead of cleaning it. Blech.

I developed these "grooves" at the top of my teeth, right under the gumline, courtesy of years of hard bristles, hard brushing, and back-n-forth instead of up-n-down action. I had filler put in some of the more severe grooves. Others are now sensitive, but not worthy of the filler, I guess.

Anyway, I got used to the soft bristles, and forced them on my kids.

I am at a loss over toothbrushes, though -- what IS all that crap they're doing with them now? Rubber and angles, and funny colors, and wavy things and funky stuff in the middle. All gimmicks, Buy Me, no, Buy ME! I thought it was just me, puzzled in the ways of the toothbrush.

April 26, 2007 1:10 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I've taken a different approach after having the same discontent with brushes. My latest secret weapon is the new Crest pro-health toothpaste.

It's aftertaste does have just a touch of that baking soda saltiness, but mostly it's minty like any other toothpaste. My teeth really feel better after brushing with it--smooth and clean.

April 26, 2007 1:24 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

hahahaha!!!! tater. bitch.

smooches, honey.

April 26, 2007 1:33 PM  
Blogger evilganome said...

Oral B. (soft) And I'm saving for a new Oral B electric toothbrush. Toothpaste, whatever is on sale, they are all the same really. Have you tried the plac rinses?

April 26, 2007 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Joe / Kusala said...

Toothpaste! OMG -- after years of using Tom's of Maine, any of the regular commercial types taste like disgusting chemical/saccharin-laden concoctions. Tom's Spearmint or Cinnamint is the way to go!

April 26, 2007 2:35 PM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

There are toothpastes with baking soda added -- maybe those would do the trick???

April 26, 2007 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Huntington said...

Joe/Kusala, some of us are unreconstructed Colgate or Crest or Aquafresh users, and every time I borrow a glob of Tom's of Maine from whatever random medicine cabinet I happen to find myself before (ahem), it feels like chalk-glue in my mouth.

But then, I'm still part of the Pepsi generation.

April 27, 2007 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Huntington, again said...

Also, I almost typed "Tom's of Finland." What would THAT toothpaste taste like?

(Not to make light of your friend's horrifying situation, Lynette. I never heard of toothbrush bristles being a hidden menace before.)

April 27, 2007 11:54 AM  
Blogger Big Ass Belle said...

huntington, that's why it's so terrifying! who knew?? here we are worrying about wars and equal rights and health care and the fucking toothbrush can do us in.

"random medicine cabinets" . . . ;-)

April 27, 2007 1:58 PM  
Blogger p.alan said...

Honey, find yourself a medium Oral B, use a gel toothpaste or a combo gel/paste (pastes, esp. tartar control are very abrasive), and be sure to brush twice a day. I've always found it helpful to floss BEFORE you brush (so as to get the fluoride into those little pockets you just opened up w/ the floss), and Never Never Never brush hard enough that you are flexing your arm muscle(s) or you'll ruin your gum tissues.

As far as getting that 'slick' feeling back that you remember, I hate to say it to you, Beautiful, but your teeth age along with the rest of your body. It's just a consequence of aging.

Huntington, I am also a member of the Pepsi generation!

April 27, 2007 3:22 PM  
Anonymous TedBear said...

Hi Doll. The overeducated redneck and I use the Sonicare Elite 7500. We have used Sonicare for years, and when we are done brushing, it feels like we have just finished a cleaning at the dentist. Wonderful! Highly recommended!

April 27, 2007 4:05 PM  
Blogger Livvy U. said...

You see, this is what I love about blogging. Really love. That all these people, myself included, are taking the time and trouble to let you know our particular personal secrets to slick teeth... Mine's Aloe Vera toothpaste... you see, I can't believe I just did that - participated in the minutiae of life with you all the way across the world. I'm smiling (with slick teeth)
Livvy

April 27, 2007 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Lisa S. said...

Oh my goodness, I have the same problem,the not so clean feeling after brushing. That is why I no longer use any colgate toothpastes. I use Crest with scope or Crest Multi-care or anything with baking soda. I don't think the brush matters so much but how you use that brush. HA!
I hope you find what works for you.

April 28, 2007 4:15 PM  

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