Photo by skippyjon, feature photo by pau.artigas

Matador Intern Mike Lynch considers which gadgety toothbrush is most reliable when the batteries crap out.

The health and beauty department isn’t one of the places you’d normally find me hanging out whether I’m online or offline shopping.

Hooked on gadgetry, like so many people these days, I started buying electric or battery powered toothbrushes about ten years ago. Wet your bristles, dab of toothpaste, open wide, insert, close the lower lip, hit the switch and the little motor hums while you guide the brushes all over, scrubbing the nasties outta your mouth.

It all works fine and soon you forget what it was like doing all that labor manually. Then, one morning you go to perform the ritual cleansing and your hi-tech helper lets you down. Wet bristles, dab of toothpaste, open wide, insert, snap the lower lip shut, and hit the switch. Nothing!

You are forced to do the old manual gig. This big, clunky stupid toothbrush with a motor built-in isn’t designed for manual operation. And, all of a sudden, you’re stuck with it because somebody’s been using the old fashioned toothbrushes for housecleaning or brushing the pet’s teeth.

Beat the handle a few times in case the batteries are still asleep. Rotate the batteries. Open the battery case when your eyes aren’t half open yet. One battery or two, AA or AAA, positive end up or down, where’s the batteries when I need them?

A caffeine-starved individual stumbles around the house with a useless, toothpaste-drooling contraption hanging from a lower lip, moaning. Where did I put those damn batteries? You either find them or don’t. Sometimes it’s easier to just wet your finger and use it for a toothbrush. Leave the contraption on the kitchen table and go find batteries when you’re really awake.

Well, I figure as long as I’m changing batteries I might as well switch brushes, too. There’s nothing quite like having brand new batteries and a brand new replacement brush at the same time. Next time you brush, it’ll be just like having a brand new toothbrush taking away beer breath, pizza, spinach, coffee stains and whatever else got trapped in there since the last brushing.

For some reason, in my stash of replacement bristles, I never have what fits in the model toothbrush that just got the new batteries. Crest, Colgate, Arm & Hammer, nobody makes a standard replacement brush. Even within one brand name the Model Number determines which part you need to replace the brushes.

The Oral B Crossaction has captured my brand loyalty. This puppy is slim enough to operate the old fashioned way if need be. It only takes one AA battery. The motor whines just like the tooth-cleaning machine in the dentist’s office. And I’ll bet it does at least 5,000 revolutions per minute (RPM).

The little things matter – what everyday products never let you down? Give us your recommendations in the comments below!