Help, I’m Hooked on Battery-Operated Toothbrushes

My 22 month old loves brushing her teeth, mostly because her Spanish baby toothpaste tastes like strawberries; even when I give her as little as possible, her eyes still light up and she shouts, “Nummy!” I wish I shared her enthusiasm. A few years ago, my mother bought me a battery-operated disposable Oral-B Pulsar ($5.99 at Target) and I’ve been ruined for regular toothbrushes ever since.

Instead of spending $3 three or four times I year, I found myself spending twice that amount to get that awesome vroom noise the motor makes and the tingly feeling on my gums. Was it making my teeth cleaner to use something with an on/off switch? Who knows? The only thing my dentist said to me was to brush less hard. Oh, that Oral-B, I thought fondly. It’s almost too good!

Then, without warning, my too good toothbrushes started sputtering and dying after only a few weeks. The first time it happened, I figured, okay, no biggie, I got a lemon. But the next one also gave up faster than the French. $6 was too much to spend every month on a toothbrush. I decided to try other brands of battery-operated disposables, and there were plenty of choose from, because apparently I’m not the only one who’s been wooed and won by the magic of mouth vibration: the Oral-B Pro-Health ($11.64); Arm & Hammer Spinbrush ($13.99), which comes in Sonic, PureClean, or Whitening; Phillips Sonicare ($14.99), which comes with a two-minute timer. There’s even a Justin Bieber Singing Brush ($6.45), AS SEEN ON TV.

I feel like such a sucker, but what can I do? I’m hooked! Ultimately, I chose the Spinbrush, because alone among the ones I saw in my local drugstore it allows me to replace batteries rather than throw the whole thing away. But I still feel kind of silly and like I’m wasting money. Even Consumer Reports is making fun of me: “All you really need is a good soft-bristled manual toothbrush if you take the time and effort. But if you have arthritis, lack dexterity, or would like some extra power, powered toothbrushes can help.” THANKS GUYS.

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