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A 2.0 Oral Care Ethnography

April 24, 2009

We’ve been having some pretty good discussions on toothbrushes in The Lair recently. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, good. (Sorry, I’ve been watching too much Curb Your Enthusiasm lately) Anyways…  Inspired by Kim and her Nancy Drew sleuthing skills, I decided to head to the store to check out the toothbrush aisle and maybe snap some clandestine photos on my iPhone. As I stood in front of the oral care section, my mind began to race. Hard bristles? Medium? Soft? Big head? Little head? Extra reach? Gum stimulators? Then it hit me; I have absolutely no idea how to pick out a toothbrush.

Toothbrush aisle at the South City Target

Toothbrush aisle at the South City Target

The next morning, I decided to poll some friends over Gchat to unearth whether or not I was alone in my oral care ignorance. I asked five of my friends “How do you pick out a toothbrush?” I have to admit I was surprised by just how knowledgeable some of them were on the subject. After all, these were my buddies from college, some of whom I had seen eat two day old unrefrigerated pizza or woken up covered in Sharpie graffiti. You’re telling me they know more about dental hygiene than I do? I guess so.

How do you pick out a tooth brush? google_talk_logo

“I pick ones that are cool colors and have cool features that promise to make my teeth cleaner in a new way. But I know that they are supposed to be soft.”

“A lot of times I buy the packaged deal with the toothpaste and toothbrush comes free.”

“Funny you should ask, I just did that yesterday but I bought the same one I had before”

“I’m a medium soft bristle kind of guy, I think soft bristle is better for your gums.”

“My dentist. I brush my teeth too hard so the soft bristles help.”

As humbling as my 2.0 oral care ethnography proved to be, I have to admit I learned a lot. I had no idea dentists recommended soft bristles for healthy gums. I always figured medium was right for me because I had normal teeth. Guess again. This little experiment has inspired me to take a more proactive stance when it comes to my own oral care. Goodbye medium bristle toothbrush. Hello soft bristles, mouthwash, and inter-dental cleaners. Wow, having a healthy mouth is fun after all.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Linda Garavalia permalink
    April 24, 2009 5:45 pm

    great posts Alex, Frank and MP but I’m just a bit worried about the oral fascination you all seem to have … time for deeper analysis? Seriously, I’m a big fan and follower of the blog and look forward to what’s coming next.

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