A father is warning other parents to keep an eye on their children when they brush their teeth after his daughter suffered a horrific accident.
Celeste Gravenmier, five, was jumping around with her brother Matthew, two, as they prepared to go to bed.
Dad Mitchell, 27, asked them to stop but as he turned for a few seconds to talk to wife Victoria, 25, Celeste fell off the bed and the toothbrush became embedded in her throat.
He said that Celeste is now scared of brushing her teeth and doctors have warned that she may face speech problems in the future.
Mitchell, from West Valley City, Utah, said: ‘Everyone is told not to run around with things in their mouth, but they don’t see what the result of it [can be].
‘This is something that could happen to any child so quickly.
‘Celeste was sitting on her bed bouncing up and down and I kept telling her to stop. The kids brush their teeth sitting there as it keeps them from running around.
‘I’d turned around for a second to talk to my wife and when I turned back around, Celeste was falling forward.
‘She stood up screaming and I looked in her mouth and could see there was a bit of blood around it.
‘At first I didn’t realise that she’d actually poked a hole in the back of her mouth, in her throat.
‘I thought she might have hurt her gums or bit her lip, but after I got the flashlight, I discovered a very large hole in the back of her mouth. It was close to an inch.
‘We’re just glad it didn’t go down her throat. They said if it was any further to the sides, it could have severed a blood vessel and caused more significant bleeding.
‘She was crying at the time because her mouth quickly filled with blood. I picked her up then drove to the hospital. I just went on autopilot.
‘We had her spitting into the sink at first, then I grabbed a red towel on the way out so she could spit into that and it would mask how much she was bleeding.
‘I didn’t want her to swallow it as that can make you throw up. At the hospital, she needed a CT scan to look at the blood vessels and arteries and check she hadn’t damaged or severed one.
‘When they realised she hadn’t, they told us that the wound needed to be immediately closed and she’d need emergency surgery. I was very nervous.
‘The surgery took about two and a half hours while they closed the wound. It’s a tricky place to reach. At just five years old, this is the first time she’s been in hospital.’
Now Celeste is back home with her parents after overnight surgery and she is on a strict soft food and liquid diet for the next two weeks.
The schoolgirl is mostly ‘back to normal, happy self’, but doctors fear she could face speech problems in the future.
Mitchell said: ‘We’re going to be more strict on the kids now as Matthew is also very energetic. We don’t take our eyes off them until they’re done brushing their teeth.
‘Celeste is more or less back to her normal, happy self, but she’s upset because she can’t use sippy cups or straws yet. We have to be strict to make sure she stays hydrated.
‘She’s very nervous now about brushing her teeth. She’s a little scared about it.
‘She damaged her palate towards the very back of her mouth, in the throat area, and the area of the injury is what you use to make certain sounds.
‘At the moment her speech seems fine, but the doctors did tell us problems may come a little later.
‘She’s still young so has trouble pronouncing certain words anyway, but we may notice in the future that she might have issues making certain sounds.’