It’s been 81 years since the electric toothbrush was first invented, and it bears little resemblance to current cutting-edge dental technology that has been developed for use in the home. Gone are the days of crossing your fingers and hoping your child did a good job brushing their teeth because, as the saying goes, there’s an app for that. But are these smart electric toothbrushes and apps worth it? And do they work?
A smart electric toothbrush can send a plethora of information via a Bluetooth connection to an app on your smartphone. It provides information on how good a job you or your child is doing during this twice-daily ritual. More importantly, it lets you know where they (you) need to improve their brushing technique.
Information transmitted to the app lets you know if a tooth is not getting its fair share of brushing time or possibly being missed altogether. Additionally, it tells you if they are not applying the right amount of pressure. Older children can monitor the app themselves and improve their brushing technique and coverage in real-time.
“These products can potentially provide a framework for learning about good dental health if used in conjunction with regular visits to a dentist and positive reinforcement from parents or guardians,” says Christopher W. Leyster, DDS, Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist, and Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry at Kids Dental Specialists in Chino, CA. However, he cautions that “products with too many bells and whistles can potentially distract children from the core goals of consistency and frequency — which is what truly matters to achieve and maintain good oral health.”
Best Smart Electric Toothbrushes?
The effect of better brushing goes beyond the mouth. Research has linked good oral health to lower risk for conditions like heart disease and diabetes. But this new technology comes with a substantial price tag. Your run-of-the-mill toothbrush only sets you back a few dollars. A recent CNET review showed them ranging between $50 and $300.
Their favorite was Hum by Colgate, “because it’s smart, but not too smart.” It lets you know when to move the brush in your mouth, and the app gives corrections without making you feel like a failure.
For parents who face a daily battle getting their children to brush for the recommended two minutes, the innovative Y-Brush claims to do the job in a mere ten seconds utilizing vibrating sonic technology. This device looks like a mouth guard with bristles.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: We have an Amazon Affiliate grid at the bottom of this post featuring the most popular brands; however, these items have not been reviewed by Parentology.]
As to the question of whether these products are worth the hefty price tag, Leyster tells Parentology, “Since these products are relatively new, it is still too early to assess their long term effectiveness from a cost standpoint.
Leyster believes that it’s important to remember the core basics.
“I’m sure some children may achieve better oral health with smart brushes, but I worry that we’re glossing over and distracting from the foundation of good oral health, which primarily comes from establishing habits of consistency and frequency coupled with a healthy diet. Technology will continue to manufacture newer and more sophisticated products, but if children lack the proper foundation of sound habits and education regarding a healthy diet, then it may just result in a more expensive path towards inadequate oral health.”