A Chinese man had to undergo a complicated gastroscopic operation to have a 15-cm toothbrush removed from his stomach, after accidentally swallowing it during his morning routine.

The unnamed man from Taizhou, in China’s Jiangsu Province told doctors that he got up one morning, about 10 days ago and decided to follow his usual routine, which included brushing his teeth before breakfast. Only he was sleepier than usual and while brushing the teeth at the back of his mouth, he accidentally dropped the 15-cm plastic brush and it slipped into his throat. Realizing his mistake, he tried reaching after it, but the slippery plastic handle proved difficult to grab, and he only managed to push it further.

Realizing that he had swallowed his plastic toothbrush, and already experiencing discomfort, the man immediately drove to the local hospital where doctors performed an X-ray scan and prepped him for emergency gastroscopic operation.

Because the smooth plastic handle of the toothbrush proved to slippery to get a hold of even with the gastroscope, doctors at the the Department of Gastroenterology had to first get the foreign object into position, and then used a snare to catch the top of the brush and pull it out.

Wang Jianrong, the head of the Department of Gastroenterology at Taizhou Fourth People’s Hospital, told reporters that the patient did the right thing by seeking medical attention, adding that turning to traditional “treatments”, like swallowing rice or vinegar can have serious health consequences, like damaging the esophagus.

Personally, I’ve heard of people so dazed in the morning that they mistook toothpaste for liquid soap and vice versa, but this is the first time I read about someone sleepy enough to swallow their toothbrush.

A few months ago we also featured the bizarre story who swallowed his Apple Air Pods in his sleep.

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