August 2007 - Volume IV - Issue VIII

ADHD - Teeth Brushing and Hot Air Hand Dryers

Statement: My intent in this newsletter is to express as quickly as possible my own beliefs and opinions on matters. I have no problems with people who disagree with my opinion and have even been swayed to rethink my position from time to time.


In my years of dealing with persons with ADHD I have come across many unusual patterns that a lot of ADHD people have confessed to me are familiar problems of theirs. I started looking at this when I recognized the problems I had with them.

As the title of the newsletter suggests, this involves among other minor things the trouble many of us have when it comes to brushing our teeth for the suggested time length recommended and the seeming inability we have in standing at a public restroom hot air hand dryer for the entire time it take to completely dry our hands.

I noticed that I seem to get bored when I am brushing my teeth or feel an unusual anxiety that I should be doing something more important and not brushing my teeth for an adequate amount of time. Not that I have bad teeth but I know I should be brushing for a longer time and struggle doing so. I even bought one of those expensive Sonic-care toothbrushes with the pulse alerts that go off every 30 seconds for two minutes. The idea is to work on one quarter of your teeth at a time and then when it beeps move to another part. Sometimes I am able to do this but all too often I hurry through and don't wait for the beeps. This also, by the way occurs when I am flossing my teeth which can also be a struggle to remember to do. I don't know why but it seems that these basic required hygiene requirements although not ignored are not given the proper time and attention. Even the knowledge of knowing this, although sometimes motivating me to complete the task properly all too often is not enough for me to do the right thing.

As far as hot air hand dryers in public places I have always struggled with standing there while they blow my hands dry. It is almost impossible for me to complete this task. Paper towels seem to work fine for me but those darned air dryers. It seems like I can only give them about two or three seconds to get the job done. I walk away thinking my hands will dry in the air just as fast. I did find a rest area, I think in Indiana, that had these super-duper high speed hand dryers that worked at such high speed and with such force that I enjoyed standing there for the few moments it took to air blast my hands dry.

I began noticing that these might be a problem for others with ADHD when I was in the hallway outside my office which is just outside the restrooms doors. I noticed that if one of my clients was in the restroom, I could hear the water running and the hand dryers start up and then seconds later the client came out. I began asking people with ADHD if they had any problems such as waiting for the hot air hand dryers and brushing their teeth and was surprised to find the numbers of people who said they shared these same tendencies.

This is not a scientific study so I have no statistics to back it up, just anecdotal information. Maybe one of the professionals on my mailing list would like to take on a scientific survey. If any of you have any more similar tendencies let me know and I can add them to my list of quirks on my informal survey.

If you have any comments or helpful suggestions on this feel free to write me.

Thanks and talk to you next month.

Patrick Hurley

If you know on anyone who might like this newsletter,please forward it to them and tell them to go to my web site at and sign up.

Author's Bio: 

17 years Lieutenant Johnson County Iowa Sheriffs Department, 5 years Adult Probation/Parole Officer, 4 years ADHD Life Skills Coach, Co-Author "ADHD and the Criminal Justice System"