The Poor Man's Soft Bristle Toothbush
When you leave your comfy Western nation for a long stint in China, there are certain things you might want to take with you because you can’t buy them over there. I’m talking dental floss. Deodorant. Size 13+ shoes.
“Toothbrushes” used to be on my list. This is not because you can’t buy toothbrushes in China; you can buy one at any supermarket or convenience store, and you can even find brands you recognize, like Crest. The reason is that I find Chinese toothbrushes to have ridiculously stiff bristles. I guess I have wussy gums, but Chinese toothbrush bristles tend to fall in two categories for me: hard and gum-shredding. (Seriously, if I wanted that kind of scrubbing power in my toothbrush, I would use steel wool.)
So, I had been importing my soft bristle toothbrushes from the States in order to keep my brushing sessions pleasant. But now I know a better way.
Take a typical Chinese toothbrush. Pour a little bit of extremely hot water over the bristles. Apply toothpaste, and brush. The hot water softens the bristles just long enough for you to brush your teeth comfortably. Toothbrushes and big thermoses of boiling water are fairly ubiquitous in China, so the trick works basically anywhere.
Enjoy this technique, my tender-gummed friends, and may you not lose a single tooth in China.