Oral hygiene products haven’t made too many technological leaps since 1938 when the first nylon toothbrush was invented.
Since then several improvements were made to the head shape, bristle pattern and handle shape. However not much has changed in how we brushed our teeth until the first electric toothbrush hit the American market in 1960.
Electric toothbrushes took the effort out of brushing. You simply pressed the button and the head started oscillating, rotating or vibrating leaving your teeth sparkling clean.
Early last year the toothbrush manufacturers decided that it is time we should all start brushing smarter. A new generation of intelligent toothbrushes appeared on the market.
Smart toothbrushes have sensors in the head of the toothbrush that send information on your brushing habits to an interactive mobile app on your smartphone, typically via Bluetooth. The app offers gives you real-time feedback and tips on improving your brushing technique.
So is this another gimmick or a smart toothbrush can really improve your dental hygiene?
As always the answer is – it depends. If you religiously brush your teeth at least twice a day for a recommended 2 min, then probably not, but if you have arthritis or dexterity problem or developed bad brushing habits, then perhaps you should read on.
The Kolibree Magik is an intelligent toothbrush that turns brushing into an interactive AR game. Game usage increases brushing time, while kids have fun. It is a great, albeit quite an expensive way to get your kids to learn good dental habits.
Other smart toothbrushes introduce mouth mapping and come with sensors that keep track of your brushing so you won’t miss a tooth. The manufacturers claim that by using their toothbrush you can remove up to 10 x more plaque than brushing manually, get up to 7 x healthier gums in just 2 weeks, and remove up to 100% more stains in just 3 days.
But this is just the beginning. Scientists are working on developing a toothbrush which could give an early warning of potentially deadly heart problems.
Spanish researchers are investigating whether a ‘smart toothbrush’ can detect changes in the saliva with such accuracy that it can alert patients to signs of cardiac disease.
They are exploring whether daily checks on saliva – using a specially designed toothbrush – could be used to monitor vital signs and biomarkers which could indicate a heightened risk.
Doctors said the daily checks could allow patients to keep close tabs on their health, adjusting their medication, or alerting the medics treating them. So if you are a fan of new technology or you feel like you could improve on your brushing technique, have a look at some of the smart toothbrushes on the market today.
- Colgate Connect E1 Smart Toothbrush
- Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Smart Toothbrush
- Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Toothbrush
- Oral-B Genius 8000
- Kolibree Magik
So you now have no excuse – keep your teeth sparkling clean and visit us twice a year for a dental check-up.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Early forms of the toothbrush have been in existence since 3000 BC. Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick,” which was a thin twig with a frayed end. These ‘chew sticks’ were rubbed against the teeth.
- The bristle toothbrush, similar to the type used today, was not invented until 1498 in China. The bristles were actually the stiff, coarse hairs taken from the back of a hog’s neck and attached to handles made of bone or bamboo.
- The first mass-produced toothbrush was made by William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, around 1780.
- The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth, (patent number 18,653,) on Nov. 7, 1857.
- Mass production of toothbrushes began in America around 1885.
- One of the first electric toothbrushes to hit the American market was in 1960. It was marketed by the Squibb company under the name Broxodent.