The colored ring at the bottom of an Oral-B brush head is put in place to help distinguish multiple brush heads from one another.
For example, if you had a family with a mum, dad, son, and daughter, each may have their own brush head that can be used on their Oral-B electric toothbrush.
The color of the ring is what can be used to identify whose brush head is whose. Mum may have a red colored ring, whilst Dad has a blue ring, the son green, and the daughter pink.
The colored ring serves no purpose other than that.
Why they are needed?
It may not apply to you but taking the above scenario, if every member of that family uses the same style of brush head, how would you ever tell the difference?
You should always use your own toothbrush/brush head and not share one as doing so can pass potentially dangerous bacteria between mouths.
When you have 4 brush heads all lined up next to each other, the only way to tell the difference is by the colored ring.
I have lost the colored ring, does it matter?
The coloured ring serves no purpose other than to tell brush heads apart, so if you are not in a scenario as described above whereby there are multiples brush heads in close proximity, then do not worry.
Without the ring, the brush will perform no differently.
If you've lost the colored ring and you do need a way to distinguish it from other heads, you could find another way to differentiate it, for example with a small sticker.
Can I swap colored rings from other brush heads?
Whilst the brush head itself should be changed every three months, the colored ring has no predetermined lifespan.
When it comes to disposing of your brush head, if you want to keep the colored ring you can use your fingernail to pull the ring off and attach it to a new Oral-B brush head.
How can I buy more colored rings?
Oral-B does not sell the colored rings on their own. There are some third party sellers on Amazon and eBay who may sell the rings, but due to their low value and low demand, they are not readily available. You will not find them at your local supermarket.
Do remember any new brush head purchase will come with a colored ring.
Can I choose the color ring on the brush head?
Yes and no. When you buy a new brush head you cannot request or determine the exact color of the ring(s) included in the pack.
If buying in person you may well be able to see these through the packaging, but not if you are buying online.
You may choose to take a colored ring from an old brush head or your preferred color from the pack of heads and swap it each time you change the head.
Why do other electric toothbrushes not have this?
Generally speaking colored rings only come with Oral-B brushes. Other brands may have their own way of differentiating brush heads or work on the basis that in reality, whilst it makes perfect sense to share a toothbrush handle, even in a family environment users often have one electric toothbrush each, thus the need for the colored ring is redundant.
The Oral-B iO does not have colored rings
The colored rings do not fit and are not compatible with the Oral-B iO brush heads (Ultimate Clean and Gentle Care).
The iO Series, which we cover in detail in our Oral-B iO comparison, has a new design of brush head, which does not use colored rings.
However, there is still a way of telling the difference between the iO brush heads.
Rather than colored rings, each brush head has printed on it 1 of 12 different icons.
The icon is printed on the front of the long shaft of the brush head, at the bottom, just above the bottom edge of the head.
Each brush head included in refill packs has a different icon on it.
The icons essentially do the same job as the colored rings.
To learn more about the various heads, see our post on the best Oral-B brush heads.
LED Smart Ring - A different type of colored ring
A different type of colored ring found on some Oral-B toothbrushes is the LED Smart Ring.
Unlike the rings that fit at the bottom of the brush head, this smart ring is quite different.
The ring is built into the brush at the time of manufacture and comes on some of the more premium Bluetooth enabled Oral-B electric toothbrush models.
When connected to a smartphone, via the Oral-B application, the smart ring can be changed to 1 of 12 different color options.
The brush then illuminates the ring with the chosen color whilst the toothbrush is turned on.
The smart ring is designed for adding a personal touch and is not aimed at differentiating one toothbrush or brush head from another.
Having said this, the smart ring does double up as the visible pressure sensor, lighting up red when too much pressure is applied. It will on some models also flash at 30 second and 2 minute intervals as part of the built-in timer mechanism.