this thing's incredible

This Year, I’m Giving an 1869-Style Italian Toothbrush to All My Friends

Photo: Courtesy the retailer

Like everyone, I gave up using a manual toothbrush about ten years ago. I liked that my Philips Sonicare told me how long I should brush for, and how it beeped when its batteries were dead. But it began to bug me. It toppled over regularly in my bathroom cabinet. Replacement heads seemed inexcusably pricey, plus, due to my hard London water, it had grown a weird ring of limescale deposit around the part where the head and the neck joined. After it lost its charge four days into a two-week trip to Greece — obviously I hadn’t packed a charger — I slowly began to shop around for a manual toothbrush to travel with, something I could carelessly toss in a bag and go.

Killing time in Florence — a stop-off on my way to a wedding in Italy — I went in search of the holy grail for those who love beauty products with old-timey labels: an Italian pharmacy. It was here that I discovered my bounty, the perfect manual toothbrush. According to their website, Acca Kappa have been making brushes since 1869 and are still a family-run company that “remain faithful to timeless values; a love of nature, respect for the human body … and a passion for authentic beauty.”

Their vintage toothbrush range extends to three solid colours: rich cream, black, and deep classic red. There are also three colours in a mottled tortoiseshell pattern: black and white, black and azure, and gold and brown. There is no fancy blue stripe in the bristles; they are simply made of natural bristle or nylon and laid out in a neat rectangle — no funky shape to scour round the back of your gums; it simply does as it says. I bought eight; they were €9 each. The perfect present for my style-conscious, dentally aware friends who already have everything they could possibly need, except an attractive toothbrush.

My electric toothbrush would passive-aggressively beep at me to use it for the entire two-minute period it suggested, while my black Acca Kappa toothbrush is so easy to hold that I can’t stop pushing it around my mouth. My teeth feel the cleanest that they ever have, and my bathroom shelf looks like something out of World of Interiors (at a push), and my electric toothbrush? Much like Michelangleo’s David, it sits cold and lifeless, a monument to time past in my bathroom cabinet.

Some other Strat-approved dental products

Some biodegrabable floss picks that ‘are easily able to extract even the stuckest-of-stuck foods’, according to our columnist Rio.

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I’m Giving an 1869-Style Italian Toothbrush to Everyone