The purpose of my Oral-B professional care 2000 rechargeable toothbrush, or so the company claims, is to offer me a unique brushing experience that’s both safe and effective. Not only will it attack plaque, prevent cavities and tartar buildup, and do away with gingivitis, it will provide me with “exceptional mouth cleaning” and “gentle, yet thorough cleaning for sensitive areas.” Last but not least, it will give “exceptional whiteness for occasional and everyday use.”

I deserve a gold star just for purchasing the thing.

As you can see, I take my oral hygiene very seriously. (Seriously enough to shell out megabucks for this bells-and-whistles version of a toothbrush.) Years of vigorous brushing in all the wrong places has done away with some of my enamel and created super-sensitive gum areas. My yearly dental cleanings are spiked with agony, when that little annoying cleaning thingy gets too close to my oh-so-sensitive hot spots. I grip the armrests tightly and have to use every ounce of willpower to stay seated until it is, thankfully, over.

Somehow my dentist noticed my “discomfort” (too small a word for what I was feeling, in my opinion). When he suggested this particular toothbrush because of the pressure sensor (a red light that blinks on and a buzzer that buzzes if you brush too vigorously), I sped to Costco and grabbed it off the shelf.

What a virtuous feeling I had as I opened the box, plugged in the toothbrush to charge, and carefully read the directions in three languages. (All right, I only read the English, not the Spanish or French. But I would have read it in those languages had I taken any of those classes in high school. I didn’t. I took bookkeeping. Too bad.)

It’s with much excitement that I pick up the brush that night and carefully squeeze a nice line of Sensodyne on it. Not too much, not too little. The perfect amount, like drizzling some ganache. With the vanity sink lights on high so I can get a view of every molar and eyetooth, I begin the brushing process.

My professional care 2000 rechargeable toothbrush definitely does everything the English instructions say it will. I come too close to my gum and bleep (** light**). Quickly, I move farther up, druuulp (**light once again**), all righty then, not that far up, moving along to my canines, a steady hmmmm, got that down pat, yay for me, molars, heads up, it’s your turn now, vweeep (**light**), okay, got to be careful there.…

Ever since this toothbrush took up residence in my bathroom, brushing has become a delicate dance. I have to hold the angle just right to avoid the druulps and vweeps. It’s tough to hear the bluurps and see the lights in the morning right after I stumble out of bed. If I’m going to be honest, I’ll admit that my smile doesn’t look any better and my teeth and gums aren’t any less sensitive to cold. (I know. I tested it out by eating some Fudge Ripple ice cream. I brushed again afterward.) (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 591)