Dumb warning labels are always good for a laugh – say, warnings not to use a hairdryer in the bathtub or while sleeping. Aren’t these things common sense?

Well…yes. Yet we humans are profoundly fallible. Sometimes we act like we’re invincible – in total control so whatever we do, nothing can harm us. Sometimes, we think like kids, and kids don’t always think clearly. And sometimes, as a result, they get hurt.

So it goes with a case history we recently stumbled upon in the Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, which involves a boy who had a near-fatal toothbrush accident.

According to the report,

A 10-year-old boy was brushing his teeth with adult toothbrush while riding a bicycle outside his home when he suddenly lost control of his bike and fell on ground with brush in his mouth. The brush got broken from the middle and half of it got stuck in his mouth. There was bleeding from mouth and he was not able to speak. The child was brought by an ambulance to our trauma centre.

The broken toothbrush had cut his tongue and the back of the roof of his mouth. The bristle end entered the upper part of his throat, pushed beyond the carotid vessels. Fortunately, his carotid artery was unharmed and the broken brush was successfully, surgically removed. The boy healed without complication.

Reading the clinical report – and the whole is accessible via the page we link to above, though be warned that some of the photos may be unsettling – we couldn’t help but think, “This is exactly why kids should be taught proper brushing habits.” Walking or goofing around – let alone riding a bike – while brushing is definitely not a good idea, especially for the youngest kids. And this was what the study authors suggested, as well – the need to play it safe.

Brushing of teeth has become an integral part of our daily routine and is regarded as very safe even in children. Tooth brush is made up of relatively pliable material and has smooth surface and round corners and is designed in such a way that it should not harm the delicate tissues of oral cavity. Even then cases have occurred where it has led to injury inside the oral cavity especially in children. Most common sites of injury are gingivobuccal sulcus, buccal fat pad, soft palate, anterior faucial pillar, pharynx. Most of these injuries are trivial in nature and nothing needs to be done in most cases. Penetrating intraoral injuries due to tooth brush are very rare and only few cases are recorded all over the world.

Our case signifies that a daily chore as simple as brushing of teeth should not be taken casually especially in children and must be done under the supervision of adults.

For tips on teaching your kids proper dental hygiene, see our previous posts, “A Few Tips for Helping Your Kids Have Good Dental Health” and “Help with Children’s Dental Health & Hygiene.”


Image by [ PEMA ], via Flickr


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One response to “Be Careful with That Toothbrush!”

  1. […] September 10, 2010 by The Verigin Dental Health Team We told you about the boy who nearly died from a length of broken toothbrush getting jammed down his throat. […]

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