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The whole notion of a habit is intimidating. Habits are hard to form, yet hard to break. They can be good for you, yet they can be bad for you. You’ve heard the saying “your life is the sum of all of your habits.” Well, that’s just downright intimidating, especially when you consider all the implications of the mouth-body connection.
As a dentist, I deal with habits all the time. I am a “behavior-ologist” when it comes to brushing, albeit an amateur one. This was training missing from my dental school curriculum. For me to be able to help my patients and readers achieve and maintain optimal oral health, I must motivate and reinforce their oral hygiene behavior.
That means not only helping people form good oral hygiene habits but helping them break ones that are not conducive their oral health. Shaming, cajoling, bribing, educating, and even tricking my patients into this habit is not beyond the scope of my practice.
That’s how a little toothbrush called Quip caught my interest.
Quip makes an affordable and easy-to-use electric toothbrush, but here’s where they caught my interest: they send you a brand new, high-quality toothbrush head every three months. With it comes encouragement, reinforcement, and a fresh tube of toothpaste. Finally, I had a partner in compliance!
So how does this compare with an electric toothbrush?
The truth is, any soft bristle, manual brush used with the proper technique is capable of giving the same quality clean as an electric toothbrush. But once that brush head is used twice a day for three months, it becomes dangerous to use. Bristles are rounded at the factory, but with daily use, they become worn down to jagged edges, which are like a sharp knife on tooth enamel.
Brushing too often and too hard can cause abrasions and gum recession. If the toothbrush bristles are worn, this is more likely to happen. This can lead to teeth that are sensitive to cold and hot drinks as well as certain types of foods. With Quip, you never have to worry about remembering to replace your toothbrush or even setting a calendar reminder to go to the store—a new one will show up on your doorstep every three months.
A common question I’m asked is this: “Which toothbrush is best for me?”
The answer is simple – the one you use consistently and properly. Quip can help with the consistency part. There’s nothing more motivating than getting a new package every three months with a fresh tube of toothpaste, new replacement head, and simple instructions. It’s a the kind of “feature” I love when it comes to engineering human behavior!
It’s the honest toothbrush company that tells you when a brush is worn and no longer safe to use. But Quip takes it one step further by actually doing something about it. I think it’s high time that we get some help with such an important habit. So much, in fact, that I agreed to come on as an advisor for Quip, which I’m very excited about.
Here’s the link if you’d like to learn more (Ask the Dentist readers get $10 off!): getquip.com.
Dr. Mark Burhenne