There are certain things in life we become quite attached to for one reason or another.
It could be a favorite sweater, a pair of pants, or in this case, a flosser.
The simplicity and effectiveness of the Oral-B Hummingbird has won it many fans all over the world, but sadly it has been discontinued and is no longer made.
So great is the disappointment amongst the US population, a petition has been setup to try and get the attention of Oral-B to take notice and bring back this wonderful tool.
I admire this approach, but sadly I don’t think they will reverse their decision.
Some stock and parts do still exist, but availability is decreasing by the day.
So where and how do you get these spare parts?
I aim to answer these questions for you.
What is the Oral-B Hummingbird?
The Oral-B Hummingbird needs no introduction to its many fans, but for those who have only just discovered it, let me explain.
It is a tool, developed by Oral-B that allows you to clean the spaces between your teeth, nice and easily.
A compact, handheld unit, it has 2 different attachments that fit to the main unit.
One attachment is what is called the pick.
As the name implies, this piece is made from a soft material, that is shaped to form a pointed end, like a toothpick/flosspick is.
Nice and slim it fits between the teeth to provide a thorough clean and help dislodge, plaque, bacteria and food debris.
The motion of the pick is controlled by a small motor built into the handle, you see the Oral-B Hummingbird is an electrical flosser, not a manual one.
It is powered by a user removable battery.
The second attachment, is a more traditional looking floss harp arrangement.
A short piece of floss is held securely securely between 2 plastic arms.
Each of these attachments are designed for 1 time use.
Having fitted 1 or the 2 different styles of attachment, a simple press of the Blue colored button on the handle activates the unit.
The internal motor will send massaging vibrations through to the attachment, to provide effective flossing.
You have to just position and move the floss or floss pick in-between the teeth and interdental spaces.
A non-slip ergonomic grip ensures it fits comfortably in the hand.
The whole concept and ethos behind the Hummingbird from Oral-B was to make the process of flossing much easier. Taking away some of the hassle and awkwardness of regular floss whilst bringing the benefit of consistent power and motion and convenience that electric items like this bring.
Much loved it was a great addition to your oral hygiene routine and complimentary to the use of an electric toothbrush.
Why was is called the Hummingbird? Quite simply, because the form of the flosser mimics to some degree the shape and size of the real life Hummingbird.
The main selling points and reasons it was and remains so widely loved is because it is:
- Reasonably priced.
- User friendly.
- Elegant design.
- Feels good to use, encouraging regular flossing.
- Portable and inconspicuous.
- Works on AAA battery, no need for electrical outlet.
- Perfect for travelling.
Why has it been discontinued?
Sadly I cannot say the exact reason it was discontinued, because I do not know.
Whilst there may be a very specific reason as to why, I can only make an educated guess based on my experiences with other products in various product categories and markets.
I suspect the the Hummingbird is now discontinued and no longer manufactured as a result of an internal review of demand, sales and market penetration.
It was probably no longer considered feasible or practical to continue.
Whilst on the face of it the Hummingbird appears to have sold well over its life, it is normal for all product manufacturer to review its product offerings.
Generally speaking products have to make a certain margin, be that percentage (%) or monetary value ($).
There may well be certain targets for sales volume.
Costs of production and what it can be sold for will be assessed as part of this review too.
For examples sake only, if the cost to produce went up by $5 but the new required sale price was now going to be another $5 higher than the competition, then the decision may be taken not to continue with the manufacturing of such, because it will not be priced competitively.
The Hummingbird is 1 example, another is the Oxyjet, a water flosser.
Compared to Waterpik who are known primarily for their water flossers, Oral-B are not.
Whilst Oral-B have not stopped operating within the oral healthcare space it is quite likely that a number of factors played into the decision of not continuing.
It may well be that Oral-B management felt it was better use of funds and resources to spend time developing their core products rather than their narrower range of electric flossers, despite having won many fans.
What about spares?
The Hummingbird required 3 key items to keep it functional, they are:
- AAA battery.
- Dental Pick attachment.
- Floss attachment.
The AAA batteries required to power this unit are easy to find.
Just pop to the local hardware or grocery store, or buy online at places like Amazon.
When it comes to the attachments, it is a little more tricky.
This is made worse by the fact each attachment is designed for 1 time use, meaning each time you or anyone else makes use of an attachment, the remaining numbers are reduced.
Where to buy replacement parts for Oral-B Hummingbird
Despite the decreasing availability, it is not impossible to get replacement parts.
ebay is the best option in my opinion at this time.
There are both private and business sellers offering replacement units, floss and pick attachments.
Smilox still offer some of the flosser attachments.
Where can I buy a brand new Oral-B Hummingbird?
Places like eBay are you best bet, to hunt down new and unused Oral-B Hummingbirds, but they are few and far between.
You may find a few used models for sale at a good price, but those who have new units are commanding a premium as they are now very difficult to get hold of.
If you are genuinely thinking of getting a new/replacement Hummingbird, I would strongly advise considering the alternatives.
Are there any alternatives?
Yes, there is 1 main alternative to the Humingbird and that is from Waterpik.
Well known for their flossing products, the FLW-220 power flosser is the closest you will get to the Hummingbird.
Whilst not identical, what it does and offers is VERY similar.
The small handheld unit is electrically operated, with the choice of 2 different styles of attachments, just like the Oral-B Hummingbird.
You can buy Waterpik’s battery powered flosser on Amazon.
|Waterpik Whitening Power Flosser||4,749 Reviews||$7.49||View on Amazon|
You can buy packs of picks on Amazon here.
If you would rather, due to price and availability, you can generally find the unit itself along with packs of attachments on eBay.
Failing that, it is a case of moving back to traditional string floss or other flossing tools.
My article on Best Flosser & Flossing Tools is well worth a look as this explains some of the best alternatives, both manual and electric available today.
You may also find my article on the best water flossers useful.
The Hummingbird from Oral-B has over the years won many a fan, but sadly, despite our desires for products to remain available they do not.
We trust this article has given you a bit of an insight into why and how to obtain spares.
Your Thought & Opinions
Have you or do you still use the Oral-B Hummingbird?
If you’ve had to switch, what’s the best alternative that you’ve found?
Got any questions?
Leave your comments below.