I’m Using Someone Else’s Toothbrush

Who is using my toothbrush now?

Warning: This is bizarre.

It starts out just like a regular tooth brushing session. Wearing socks, I step into the bathroom and turn towards the mirror. For roughly a minute, I examine my face for new developments, leaning as close to my reflection as possible. Finding everything accounted for, I stand back up and reach for my toothbrush. I wet it, squeeze toothpaste onto it, open my mouth wide, and then set it against my right lower molars. The brushing begins.

And then it happens. I am suddenly and completely convinced that the toothbrush I’m using is not my own. It’s someone else’s. I’m using someone else’s toothbrush. Who is it? What if they find out? What if it’s my roommate’s and she walks by and sees me because I don’t shut the door when I’m just brushing my teeth? Would she be mad at me? Would she say nothing, walk away, and then leave a note by the sink asking me not to use her toothbrush. Would she bring it up

over dinner and say “Hey, you can totally use my toothbrush, but just make sure you ask me beforehand.” or would it be more like a roundabout story of how in her family, everyone always used their own toothbrushes and she guesses it’s just a personal thing but could I please not use her toothbrush anymore? Would she start taking her toothbrush out of the bathroom and shutting it in her nightstand? What if I went into her room and took it out of her nightstand and she saw me using it again? Would she ask me to move out or would it turn into a kind of game where she hides her toothbrush around the apartment and I keep on trying to find it? Would she ask me pointblank when she saw me with my toothbrush in her mouth, “Are you using my toothbrush?” And what would I say? “Oh I thought it was mine?” Is that even true? Am I some kind of psychopath that lies about my brushing habits, but not in the usual, “Sure, Dentist, I brush and floss two to three times a day,” but in a “Oh that’s so weird I completely thought it was mine” even though I doubted it was mine but went ahead and brushed my teeth anyways. And how can I even doubt whether or not the toothbrush was mine unless our toothbrushes look exactly the same, but mine and hers don’t because hers is blue and mine is white so I have no excuse but still I find myself wondering whether or not I’m using the right toothbrush? What does that say about me?

So there I am, alternately staring in the mirror at myself  and at the toothbrush, and I have the distinct and unmistakable feeling I’m using the toothbrush of a stranger. I feel this even though I know for a fact the toothbrush is mine. I can see my roommate’s toothbrush in the blue glass that also holds our identical toothpastes, but we don’t care about the toothpastes because apparently those are fine and socially acceptable to interchange. But if you interchange toothbrushes, that’s just weird.

Is it because the bristles of a toothbrush explore the most intimate nooks of one’s oral cavity, massaging the crevices of one’s chompers and their gummy nest, inserting itself in all those places where the day’s gluttony lingers, shooing bits of taffy and apple peel out of their hiding places, scrubbing the tongue down including that part in the back that looks weird and kind of hairy because of the taste buds? Is it because of all of that?

Though I know for a fact the toothbrush I hold is my own, the doubt still plagues me. I miss my old toothbrush, the one I lost about a week ago. It was green and awkwardly sized in the fashion of a big crayon, but I had gotten to know it over the course of many brushings and felt I had reached a special place with it. But now it’s gone. And in its place is this cold piece of plastic that doesn’t understand me and doesn’t even seem to care. Maybe my roommate’s toothbrush would be nicer to use after all. Would she care if I did use it, just a few times, just until I got to know my new toothbrush better?

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15 thoughts on “I’m Using Someone Else’s Toothbrush

  1. smallprayer says:

    lol…toothbrush is not the appropriate thing to share, a whole colony of germs stays on it…but then i just have a thought, if it contains so many germs why are we using it in our own mouth :s

  2. haha that’s a lot of thinking about a toothbrush! I suggest sticking with the new brush, what with all the germs that hang around in old brushes.
    I recently went ‘electric’ and I’ve never turned back. The positive? You can keep the same handle and just change the brush 🙂

    • edrevets says:

      I had an electric toothbrush for a little while about a decade ago, but I always got grossed out because the battery chamber would inevitably fill with goop and smell bad. I hadn’t thought about that in years…..

      I’m sure technology has come a long way since then, and one day we’ll be able to brush with our iPhones.

  3. Wait. You lost your toothbrush?

    How did you lose your toothbrush?

    I have never used someone else’s toothbrush and never will. That’s icky. My Person, Jack, once had a conversation with a coworker in which the coworker was all grossed out that his girlfriend had used his toothbrush, and Jack said, “Have you kissed her?”


    “With tongue?”


    And Jack shrugged. Apparently, Jack wouldn’t care if I used his toothbrush. But it’s in the medicine cabinet in its little Ziploc bag. Just for him.

    • edrevets says:

      Well I’m with Jack on this one. I have used other friend’s toothbrushes before, and while I realize it’s disgusting, on another level I’m like “it’s clean because of the toothpaste.” This is wrong, and I know that.

      And I lost it because it was in my coat pocket and must have fallen out. Someone could be using it right now…..

  4. Andrew says:

    Ah, well, we’ve all had our bouts of anxiety/paranoia. Like me and my tendency to compulsively check and make sure I have my wallet in my back pocket. I walk around constantly patting my butt. I get weird looks 😛

    Oh and sharing toothpaste is bad (mmkay? Sorry…had a Mr. Mackey moment. That will make no sense if you haven’t seen South Park). Imagine all the ickiness of a shared toothbrush given time to fester, and then put that into your mouth. That’s what sharing toothpaste is like :P.

    • edrevets says:

      I like how you punctuated your sentence about the festering toothbrush with a smiley face….on second thought, these smiley faces have no teeth at all. I bet they don’t even brush like civilized beings.

  5. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Ooh. Ick. Poor you. That kind of thing would stay with me throughout the day. All day long, I’d be wondering what someone else’s germs were up to in my mouth and whether my own germs were trying to escape the intruders.

  6. El Guapo says:

    I think you just have to plunge in with the new brush. like in the arranged marriages of old.
    How would the new toothbrush feel if you said “Oh, I want to use this other toothbrush just until I’m more comfortable with you”? Wouldn;t that be damaging to the toothbrush’s psyche? Would not it’s bristles wilt? And what recourse would it have?
    Toothbrushes have no rights in discriminatory Western society, and probably even fewer in the Greater Cairo Metropolitan Area.
    i call on you to uphold the noble traditions of fealty and loyalty to your toothbrush, edrevets.

    Unless your hammered. Then it’s totally understandable to “accidentally” use someone else’s brush.

    • edrevets says:

      You have inspired me. I’m going to stick it out with the toothbrush. We’re going to make things work. No one said this thing called tooth brushing is easy.

  7. Spectra says:

    Ugh. For me, that would be something like a nighmare to be holding the handle of someone elses toothbrush while it is yet shoved 2/3rd’s deep inside my mouth, foaming with toothpaste. And when I travel and stay with people, I always bring my own toothpaste, wrap that and the brush up in my own washcloth, and take them with me when I leave the bathroom. I am very sensitive to germs.

    Guests once flew in from California, and forgot toothpaste, it was too late to go to the store, so they used mine. I ended up with a very painful chancre sore on my tongue and could barely speak for 3 days. Which is when she informed me it was a form of herpes and she carried it. THANKS. I mean, for sharing, and all. (we are no longer friends)

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