5-Year-Old Girl Punctures Throat After Falling While Brushing Her Teeth, May Have Permanent Speech Problems

A 5-year-old Utah girl was left with an inch-wide hole in her throat after falling with a toothbrush in her mouth.

Celeste Gravenmier had been jumping on her bed while brushing her teeth in West Valley City before falling forward and impaling herself.

The young girl was left with a gaping hole that needed emergency surgery and could leave her with speaking difficulties for the rest of her life.

Celeste's father Mitchell Gravenmier is quoted by The Sun saying that Celeste normally sits on her bed alongside 2-year-old brother Matthew to keep them from running around the house, but disaster struck when he momentarily turned away from the children to speak to his wife. When he turned around, he saw that Celeste was falling forward with her toothbrush in her mouth.

"She stood up screaming and I looked in her mouth and could see there was a bit of blood around it," said Mitchell Gravenmier.

"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."

Gravenmier said he and his wife wrapped a towel around Celeste's mouth to stop the bleeding and she was quickly taken to hospital where the girl underwent a CT scan.

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Doctors checked Celeste's blood vessels and arteries to make sure they had not been damaged or severed, Gravenmier said.

A two-and-a-half-hour surgery was then performed to close the wound.

Celeste is now back home and is "back to her normal, happy self," but will be on a strict soft-food and liquid diet for the next two weeks, her father said.

brushing teeth
Doctors fear the 5-year-old Celeste Gravenmier will have future speech problems after puncturing her throat with a toothbrush in her home in West Valley City, Utah. Getty

Doctors fear Celeste may have problems pronouncing certain words in the future—after damaging an area in the palate that is linked to certain sounds—but Gravenmier is simply thankful the situation was not more serious.

Celeste's injuries could have been much more long-lasting had the toothbrush gone further down her throat or had a blood vessel been severed.

Gravenmier is now urging other parents to ensure they are watchful of their children when they are brushing their teeth to ensure they avoid the same fate.

"Always enforce not running or jumping around for your kiddlets when brushing or anything like that," he wrote in a Facebook that he told parents to share as a cautionary tale.