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As you can probably see from browsing around the reviews on ToothbrushTown, we’re pretty big fans of Oral-B’s brushing tech; it’s stood the test of time, and more than held it’s own in independent scientific studies.
In this article, we’re taking a look at something of a first in the toothbrush world, the Oral-B Pro 6000 – a smart toothbrush!
What’s so special about this brush? Well, it connects to your iPhone or Android phone via Bluetooth for starters!
But are we talking gimmick, or this a genuinely useful feature? Read on and we’ll talk it over.
Why Would I Want My Toothbrush To Be Smart?
You might think that tooth brushing is so simple that you don’t need any advice, but actually there are a lot of common pitfalls, some of which actually damage your teeth.
For example, the British Dental Association recently found that a massive 80% of office workers don’t bother to brush for the dentist recommended 2 minutes in the morning.
Over the past few years, Oral-B have been trying to deliver a product that solves the problem of people not brushing properly.
It began with the Triumph 5000 and its wireless SmartGuide, which monitored your brushing and gave you a score after you’d finished. The idea was to improve your brushing by aiming for a top score every day.
You’ll get one of these SmartGuides in the box with your Pro 6000, but if you’ve got a smartphone then you can use the Oral-B app, which does a whole lot more than the SmartGuide.
The Oral-B App
The Oral-B app is a free install that you’ll find in the iOS App Store, or the Android Store. Once you’ve installed it, it allows you to connect your Pro 6000 toothbrush to your smartphone via bluetooth.
Then, whenever you brush, whip your smartphone out of your pocket and fire up the Oral-B app to get the perfect brushing.
The app will display your brushing time on the screen, to help you make sure that you don’t wander off before you’ve brushed for long enough. A recent study showed that 50% of people are more likely to brush for long enough if they use a timer, so this simple feature is actually more handy it sounds.
Over time, the app will track your brushing time and allow you to view stats and make sure that your oral health routine is ideal. It won’t only track how long you brush for, it’ll also track how much time you spent pressing too hard, whether you’ve brushed your tongue, and (with your help) whether you flossed.
On your regular dental visit, you can go in armed with this information to either prove that you’re a brushing champ, or get personalized advice based on your actual brushing routine.
But the communication isn’t just one way. The app also talks to your phone.
You can set your target brushing length, and preferred brushing mode and routine using the app. You can even adjust these settings to target different settings to different parts of your mouth.
The idea of this is that when you visit the dentist, you can simply hand your phone over, and have your ideal brushing routine programmed in by a professional, perhaps even to target specific areas in which you’ve experienced problems.
While you’re diligently brushing using that ideal routine, the app will also let you know the weather and flash news items onto the screen. I actually really like this feature; it’s something interesting to focus on while you’re brushing, and it also keeps you occupied on brushing so you’re more likely to do it for long enough.
OK, But Is It a Gimmick
The SmartGuide and smartphone app may seem a little gimmicky, and they’re certainly not for everyone, but I can see some situations in which they’d be genuinely useful.
If you’ve recently suffered dental problems, and your dentist thinks you need to pull your socks up and improve your dental hygiene routine then the app and SmartGuide could really help.
They actually do help to bring your attention to a lot of the common pitfalls:
1) You’ll know when you’ve brushed for long
2) You’ll know when to move to a different area of the mouth, therefore paying equal attention to every tooth
3) You’ll be warned when you’re brushing too hard (which a lot of people do, and can actually irreversibly damage your teeth)
4) You’ll be able to confirm, over time, that your routine hasn’t slipped or got any worse.
There’s also a fair bit of evidence to show that this kind of so called “gamification” of a boring task can actually cause people to psychologically commit themselves to it in a stronger way.
To my mind though, if you’ve had no dental problems, and your dentist isn’t concerned about your routine then the 6000 might not be for you (unless you’re obsessive about getting the perfect clean).
There’s also little point in getting the 6000 if you don’t own a smartphone. The Pro 5000 would be a better option in that case; it comes with the SmartGuide and costs a little less.
One thing to bare in mind is that whilst the teaching features might well help you to improve your oral health routine in the beginning, once you’ve got yourself into good habits it’s likely that you’ll find the app and SmartGuide less useful.
However, if you’ve had problems in the past, it will probably still be handy to have those options available to you; you can always dip in and check that your routine is still up to scratch every so often.
Also, when it comes improving your oral health, the initial investment is probably more than worth it; you’ve only got one set of teeth, and a slew of scientific studies have linked dental problems to a range of serious health conditions.
What Else Do You Get?
The 6000 also includes Oral-B’s 3D cleaning technology.
This means your brush oscillates, pulses and rotates simultaneously and has been independently proven to remove 10% more plaque (and reduce your chances of suffering gingivitis by 20%).
It also comes with 4 replacement brush heads, which should be enough to keep you going for a full year.
It’s fully compatible with Oral-B’s latest CrossAction heads, which have angled bristles that can reach further in-between your teeth to remove more plaque bacteria.
It has 5 different cleaning modes; daily clean, gum care, sensitive, whitening, and deep clean.
Also included are the usual array of built-in timers to let you know when you’ve been brushing for long enough, and pressure sensors to warn you when you’re being too rough.
So Is It For You?
The Pro 6000 is a hard toothbrush to score, mainly because it isn’t for everyone.
The oral hygiene tracking features are fantastic, and could be a breakthrough in helping dental practitioners get more actively involved in our dental care. It also certainly gives your teeth the best brushing that money can buy (thanks to the 3D Cleaning movement).
However, if you’re already brushing correctly, the extra cost of these features probably aren’t worth it. But do be honest with yourself; it’s very easy to kid yourself into thinking you’re a diligent brusher when in fact you’re brushing too hard, and for either too long or not long enough.
If you’re certain that your oral routine is up to scratch, then save yourself some money and take a look at the Pro 2000 or 4000. They include the same great brushing technology as the 6000, and are significantly cheaper.
However, the SmartGuide and Oral-B app could definitely be an invaluable resource to someone who desperately needs to improve their brushing routine; I don’t doubt that if you’ve experience dental problems and need to brush up on your oral health that these features will help a great deal.