The Angst Of The ToothbrushYour toothbrush holders: Are they sufficiently adaptable to our dynamic modern age? It's not the type of question you want to tackle on your own. Thankfully we have the paper of record to help guide us through the wild twists and turns of this perilous issue. And any story that includes the phrase "the powers at the major toothbrush makers" without so much as a qualifying chuckle has got to have something important to say.

The essential problem is this: toothbrush handles have gotten big, wide, and oddly shaped, whereas toothbrush holders have remained formatted for the popsicle-stick toothbrush handles of yore. It started with cutesy wide handles on kids' brushes, and has now spread to adult models. Americans too lazy to move their forearms in short back-and-forth motions have also increasingly turned to electric brushes, which save you from burning those valuable 3 calories that could later that day, through a series of unlikely events, be the only thing giving you the strength to pull yourself out of a remote desert crevasse.

So how to handle this toothbrush holder incompatibility? The Times points out some modern designs you can turn to, including one that costs almost $100. And finally it just admits: either use a cup (genius), or stop with the weird toothbrushes.

The sad fact is that those old-fashioned ceramic cup holders with toothbrush slots for the whole family may be hard to improve on. And according to Dr. Clifford Whall, director of the American Dental Association's seal of acceptance program, the Popsicle-stick toothbrushes that fit in them will clean teeth just as well as the attention-getting ergonomic models that now dominate drugstore shelves.

"The bottom line is, if you brush efficiently and for long enough you can reduce plaque whether you use many different kinds of manual toothbrushes," Dr. Whall said. "We haven't seen sufficient studies that any one brush is superior to another — whether it's power or manual."