Tuesday, November 22, 2005

technology overkill

That's it. I quit. I refuse to participate in a society that produces a toothbrush with an onboard computer chip. It's DENTAL FREAKIN' HYGIENE FOLKS! It's not rocket science!!! The hardest part of dental hygiene is remembering how to spell "hygiene" for gods sake!

Brush. Up down up down up down. Don't forget the teeth in back. Floss. Use toothpaste with fluoride. (Especially now that we drink bottled water...) When your toothbrush bristles look more like a troll doll than a toothbrush, buy a new one. End of story.

What in that list could possibly require a computer?

Next thing you know they'll be putting batteries into four-bladed disposable razors...


Anonymous said...

Without intending to take anything away from the awesome humor of your post, I find my electric toothbrush incredibly useful. Not only does it do a much more effective job of brushing than my puny hand motions ever achieved, but it's got a built-in timer that keeps me on the job an appropriate amount of time as opposed to how my lazy butt would often rationalize it was time to stop way to early.
-- Andy

xiki said...

My dear predictable Andy... If you hadn't signed this, I still would have known who wrote it. :)

While I believe the technology of running shoes has improved the quality of life for runners and their knees, I'm not quite sure that toothbrush technology has actually improved oral hygiene as noticeably. I'm not a runner, so my preference for bouncy sneakers is just a comfort thing, not an orthopedic thing. My preference for Oral-B's funky toothbrushes with the angled head and the little rubber "gum massagers" on the sides is much the same. I like the way they make my mouth feel. Maybe they stimulate my gums and keep them healthier. Maybe not. Maybe they reach my back teeth better. Maybe not. Whatever. I still like them more.

But, I have to wonder if there's some sort of derivable law that defines what an "appropriate amount of time" is when it comes to removing gook from your teeth. I mean, can you get to it from Maxwell's Equations? The Bernoulli principle? Is there some clearly defined 'optimum time' to brush your teeth that does not depend on what you've eaten beforehand, what your individual mouth chemistry is, your genetic predisposition to tooth decay, or how likely your teeth are to trap bits of spinach in their gaps?

Or do you think maybe Water-pik just told one of their engineers to pick a random amount of time and program it into the timer?

Hm? Anybody but that Occam guy have an answer?

I think the toothbrush and toothpaste industry, like almost any other health care industry, counts on low-level fear to drive sales. The cavity metric of oral health improved dramatically in this country when they added fluoride to city water, not when water-pik introduced their electric toothbrush. Cavities are on the rise again because parents have replaced their kids' tap water with bottled water, not because the public has gotten lazy about brushing.

I'm no expert (although I grew up the daughter of a dentist who didn't care if I flossed) but it's my gut instinct that you use what you need to to get the gook off of and from between your teeth, and you keep your gums stimulated and the blood flowing to them to keep them healthy.

It still doesn't require a computer chip...

That said, I just bought Colgate's new toothpaste that claims to improve the quality of your teeth's enamel.

[insert self-mocking eyeroll here.]

Karen said...

Must... resist... urge... to make joke about... spouse's... "puny hand motions"....

(Come to think of it, if one were to replace "toothbrush" and "brushing" with indecipherable strings of characters, he could be writing a ringing endorsement for another sort of electric gizmo altogether....)

xiki said...

I'm not sure there's an "appropriate amount of time" for that either, and there is definitely no rationalization about stopping "way too early."

But, I'm totally with you on the "much more effective" part.