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J R Soc Med. 2004 May; 97(5): 255.
PMCID: PMC1079479

Swallowed toothbrush

A woman of 35 came to the accident and emergency department saying that she had accidentally swallowed an entire toothbrush ‘whilst brushing the back of her throat’. She had no other symptoms other than slight odynophagia. A radiograph (Figure 1) shows the bristles in the fundus of the stomach. She was referred to the surgeons who removed the toothbrush endoscopically the next day.

Figure 1
Foreign-body radiograph showing bristles in fundus

Two points struck me. First, how could she have swallowed a whole toothbrush accidentally? Second, if it was swallowed bristles first, one might expect the bristles to be at the pylorus rather than the fundus. The patient later admitted that she had been using the toothbrush to induce emesis.

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press