Yesterday I had a dentist appointment, and while I was there I had a revelation in their restroom.

Sitting on the counter was a mug full of disposable, single-use toothbrushes, individually wrapped and pre-loaded with toothpaste.

When I spoke with our dentist, she said that she had gotten the idea from orthodontists, whose patients often come to the office without having had the opportunity to brush their teeth.  But I saw quite a different use for them.

One of the most annoying aspects of overseas airplane travel (after the expense, lack of sleep, and forced minimal movement for hours on end) is the difficulty of brushing one's teeth.  It's bad enough to have to negotiate the tiny lavatory, hoping the plane doesn't lurch as you attempt to spit into the diminutive sink.  But schlepping a travel toothbrush in your carry-on luggage, and toothpaste in the TSA-approved clear, plastic, quart-sized, zip-lock bag, and negotiating their interaction within the confines of the aforementioned lavatory—well, let's just say it's enough to make many people forego dental hygiene on long flights.

Enter the single-use, preloaded toothbrush:  Light.  Individually wrapped.  No hassle from the TSA.  Brush and toss.  Brilliant.

There's only one problem.  You can order these NiceTouch toothbrushes from  However, since they expect you to be a dentist, the minimum order is 144.  (I so wanted to say "gross!" but that doesn't fit with toothbrushes, unless you drop yours on the lavatory floor while trying to brush your teeth on an airplane.) So either you must plan a lot of travel, or go in with a lot of travelling friends, or have a nice, friendly dentist who will get some for you.

If you succeed, remember this caveat from our own nice, friendly dentist:  they really are for one use only.  They're not made well enough to stand up under repeated use, and have been know to fall apart in very uncomfortable ways.

I'm looking forward to brushing my teeth on my next trip to Switzerland.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 7:10 am | Edit
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There are similar things out there but some are labeled as made in China. Not sure about the ones you mentioned. Colgate Wisp is something you can buy in the store, small and made in Switzerland. I haven't tried them but I bought them for the rest of the family for overnight trips/work.

Posted by MNKB on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 8:45 am

Thanks. Made in Switzerland is a good thing ... at least if it's not Nestlé. :)

Posted by SursumCorda on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 8:54 am

Sorry, didn't realize Colgate was Nestle. I'm sure other toothpaste/brush companies have similar things

Posted by MNKB on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 9:04 am

Um, *I* didn't realize Colgate was Nestlé; I was just making a general statement about things made in Switzerland.

Actually, I think they've just partnered in some things. Nestlé is so big it's impossible to avoid things without some "taint." It reminds me of trying to avoid products associated with the big tobacco companies, only to be astonished at how much that would remove from our lives, even if it were possible.

Posted by SursumCorda on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 10:15 am

You guys are much more into dental hygiene than I am. I carry gum with me and that holds me until I can use a real bathroom.


Posted by dstb on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm

What about the Hager Pharma Xylitol toothbrushes on Amazon? They seem to come in smaller quantities.

Posted by dstb on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Fascinating. Who knew I was so out of the loop? I've got to get out more.

Posted by SursumCorda on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm

The pre-loaded brushes you mention are sometimes laid out in Japanese hotels, though mostly I ran into brushes with small toothpaste tubes.

For plane rides, I generally ask for sparkling water to hydrate and rid myself of the taste in my mouth in one go. Brushing can wait.

Posted by Stephan on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 4:49 pm

By the way, the stuff made in Switzerland is going to be made in Poland soon. See the German Wikipedia site.

Posted by Stephan on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm