The sale of replacement brush heads is a lucrative market for toothbrush manufacturers.
Once you have bought an electric toothbrush, for the next few years at least you are going to be requiring replacement heads.
As I understand it, this is where they make their profit, not on the toothbrush handle, but the replacement brush heads you need to buy.
The fitting of the Brush heads tend not to be the same between different brands. Oral-B brush fittings are different to the heads of a Sonicare toothbrush, they are not interchangeable so your choices are limited.
Buying a manufacturer original head gives the best chance of quality and reliability. However, many would argue that the prices of the replacement brush heads manufacturers offer can be a bit expensive.
As a result, this has opened up a market for third party sellers to create replicas. These are compatible with Oral-B brush handles but not made by or branded Oral-B.
But, such demand for cheaper heads has also fuelled a market of fakes or counterfeits, that are passed off as the real deal, but are rarely made to the same standard.
In November 2019 the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 20,000 counterfeit heads and categorically state in their press release:
Counterfeit toothbrush heads pose a serious health threat to consumers, as do all counterfeit healthcare products. Counterfeit brush heads are manufactured in unsanitary facilities with substandard materials that may sicken users or cause bleeding to a user’s gums or mouth, and structural defects may cause the brush head to detach and potentially choke users.
The officers detained the shipment as suspected counterfeit consumer goods due to poor packaging and questionable quality. Packaging and quality are 2 reasons we highlight to look out for when buying brush heads.
If you want to know more and would rather watch and listen, than read text, click play on the video below.
Where to buy authentic Oral-B brush heads online
Before we explain exactly how you can spot brush heads that are not manufactured by Oral-B, we’ll just point you to where you can buy them online, safe in the knowledge that they are the real deal.
We often link to various brush heads throughout our reviews, but we also have a post that compares Oral-B brush heads. In this post we link to the various brush heads on Amazon. These are official Oral-B brush heads, so if you buy these you can be sure that they are not fake or replica.
How to spot fake Oral-B brush heads
When it comes to buying any product we can be easily led into believing we are buying the real thing when it is in fact a fake. At times, many of us will knowingly buy the fake as there is a cost advantage to doing so.
Most of us have been there or know someone who has, there is no shame in it.
When products are in demand and there is a big market for fake versions of the original. Some people choose to take advantage of this and the only loser is you as the buyer.
Why spend £250 on that lovely Michael Kors handbag you have seen in your local department store, when you can get apparently the same one for £30 from a guy at the market.
£60 for a Ralph Lauren polo shirt; but just £5 for the same thing from a small shop you found on holiday.
Which one are you going to buy?
The same goes for electric toothbrush heads.
Long term, purchasing a fake can lead to problems or disadvantages that mean we wish we had bought the real/official product.
We are not saying do not buy fake or counterfeit, it is your decision, but we do not endorse it and always advise purchasing the real thing.
When it comes to your electric toothbrush and Oral-B replacement brush heads, be that for your Pro or TriZone brush, DO NOT let yourself be led or fooled into purchasing a fake or replica – know the differences.
Photos to help you spot a fake
Please see the photos in this gallery, alongside the detailed instructions below, for assistance in spotting fake Oral-B brush heads.
You can click on of the photos to see a larger version.
Oral-B compatible brush heads are different
It is worth noting that there are companies and sellers be that in a high street store or online who will not claim to be selling genuine Oral-B brush heads, but will state them as compatible with Oral-B brushes.
Just so we are clear, it is perfectly legal for a company to make a brush head that is compatible with an Oral-B brush handle.
The head can and will often look very similar to those made by Oral-B.
But, there are some key differences.
These heads are sold as compatible with and are not packaged, labelled or marketed as if they were the same as the originals. t is not right to suggest these are fake or counterfeit.
Fakes are made and sold to make you believe you are buying an original.
Third party or aftermarket heads like this tend to be much more cost effective and made to a fairly good standard, offering an alternative to the original.
In this instance, expect to see the name of the company, on the head and some slight design differences.
Real vs Fake/Replica Oral-B Brush Heads
The best replica, fake or counterfeit brush heads will come packaged and look like an original.
Most of the time, many of us would find it very difficult to actually tell the difference but there are some key things to look out for, which will allow you to decide whether they are fake or not.
It is not until you get home, start unpacking the product and using it that you may have cause for concern. You can’t open and try them in the shop or always tell from images online.
Further down this post is a list of key identifiers that make it possible to tell the difference between a fake and real brush head, but before we show this, here are a couple of things to consider before making the purchase, to avoid purchasing a fake.
- Purchase from only a recognised and reputable store or online retailer.
Do not purchase from Bob at the market or off eBay unless you are sure that what you are purchasing is the real deal or you are happy with you decision and happy to pay the price of using a copy or fake.
Buy from big name stores like, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, Superdrug and Amazon (not third party sellers). They have policies and regulations that reduces the chances fakes or replicas being sold. These big name stores generally work direct with the real manufacturer.
- If the price is that much cheaper, there is likely a reason for it.
If your local big named store is selling the brush head you want for £10 per pack but Geoff’s cosmetic market stall has the same product for just £5, question why. How is it there is such a price difference? How can Geoff sell it so much cheaper?
- If you are being offered more for less, there is likely a reason for it.
Is there a 3rd party seller on Amazon or eBay offering your 20 brush heads for £20 when Amazon or a reputable eBay seller is selling just 8 for £20? If so, good chance they are fake as the production cost is less and it is possible to sell at this price whereas it is not for an original.
- Is the pack size different to 2, 3, 4 or 8 brush heads per pack
These are typical pack sizes. Be wary of other odd number pack sizes or those that do not come in an individual pack, as thus could be an indication that they are fake.
- If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Consider the deal as a whole. Does the price, product, reviews all sound too good to be true and you seem to be getting the bargain of the century. It is usually an indicator that something is not quite right.
How to tell the difference between an original or real Oral-B brush head and a fake
The following are a list of known differences between a genuine, Oral-B manufactured brush head and counterfeit/fake/replica brush heads sold online or in store.
Depending on the source the differences and signs of the fake may differ. The following is intended as a guide only. Not all fakes will exhibit these faults or flaws, but as a broader rule a fake or copy will show some one or more of these identifiers.
- Packaging language
- The writing on the packaging will usually be in English. This may vary if your country’s primary language is not English.
- Receiving packaging in any other language, particularly Chinese if you are not in China, should act as a trigger for you to investigate further.
- German may possibly appear as Braun Oral-B is of German origin, but fakes can also be produced with German language.
- Packaging quality.
- Is the plastic fairly sturdy or really flimsy?
- Is the packaging sealed and well aligned?
- Is the writing on the back bolder and darker?
- If thin, poorly aligned, weak colours then the heads contained within could be fake.
- Reference number
- On the individually sealed brush head packaging, is there an 8 digit reference number? If not, it could be fake.
The brush head shaft
- The Oral-B logo will not scratch off.
- The Oral-B logo on a fake brush head will often be lighter in colour and can be scratched off with a fingernail.
- On an original the grey/white paint will generally be darker in colour and should not scratch off with a fingernail.
- A raised circular mark
- A small circular and noticeable indentation towards the bottom of the brush head shaft, underneath the Oral-B logo will indicate a possible fake.
- On an original the circle is present but raised/slightly impressed.
- A fake has a circle clearly indented into the shaft.
- Shiny metal and uniform design
- Look inside the oval cutout/slit on the front of the brush head. Inside you should see a metal piece which moves when the brush is in use.
- A real head will have a nice shiny metal with little in the way of imperfections and a uniform screw effect.
- Fake brush heads may well be less uniformed, less polished or made up of a different material.
- Serialised/marked internal parts.
- On the back of the brush head the oval cutout should contain a piece of usually white plastic, often with some sort of reference number on it.
- Inside the brush head
- Looking up and inside the shaft of the brush head, the original Oral-B will have a narrower darker channel compared to a fake.
The brush head & bristles
- Fake brush head bristles do not fade in colour.
- The brush head bristles will either not fade in colour at all or if it does it may take a long time to do so.
- An original will over a 3 month period will gradually get lighter in colour, with the colour remaining strongest for the longest time at the bottom of the bristle. The colour fades from the top of the bristle down.
- Tight bristle formation.
- The bristles on the brush head will be in tight clusters and appear richer and darker in colour on the real brush than the fake.
- Fake brush heads bristles will not evenly splay.
- On an original brush head used for 3 or more months, the bristles will begin to point in different directions and not be in the same tight formation as they were new.
- However there will appear to be some order to this splaying of bristles. If the bristles are all over the place and generally really messy, you can be pretty sure it is a fake.
- The two dots
- On the top of the brush head, there is a metal dot in the centre and a single dot either side.
- If the single dot is raised the brush head is likely a fake.
- An official Oral-B head will have a recessed dot either side.
- Brush head openings
- On the back of the original brush head, there is often one opening in the lower third of the plastic body.
- A copy or replica may have multiple openings, although originals have been known to have multiple openings.
- Fitting to the brush
- Does the brush head clip securely onto the brush handle?
- Notice any wobbling or strange sound?
- Is it too tight and needs to be forced on?
- Originals will have a tight but simple fit with little movement in the brush head shaft.
- Sore teeth and gums
- If you use the brush and find your teeth and gums become more sensitive as a result compared to previously used brush heads and nothing else in your routine has changed, this could be a sign of a fake.
Getting the final word on whether it is a fake
If you have concerns about any brush heads you may have purchased or be looking to purchase yourself, then it would be worth contacting Oral-B directly to make them aware and getting their opinion by calling their freephone number: 0800 783 7010 (UK) or 1800 509 448 (ROI).
23 thoughts on “Oral-B Fake Brush Heads”
Bought some oral b heads from Amazon & was using them for 2 months. Went to my hygienist as my gums had seriously deteriorated & were bleeding. It was put down to bad oral care which upset me as I am very fussy. Then Amazon contacted me to say they had refunded me & to throw the heads away as they were not genuine which I did. My problem now is I am left with sore bleeding gums & dont know how to treat it.Ani
Hi Anita. All being well in time your gums will heal and recover. Best to take some advice from your hygienist as this can be personalised to you.
If manufacturers sold replacement heads cheaper fraudsters wouldn’t have the leverage in profit from selling fake copies. Greed – the root of all evil – counterfeit goods help the poor person enjoy a tiny slice of what the rich take fir granted – the only way to make this type of fake problem go away is if manufacturers just make enough profit to pay good wages, maintain their premises to high levels of safety with more thought to aesthetics, architectural features, planting, grassy areas and landscaping around their premises and where their workers live around their business sites – R &D is needed too – but a big fat no to share holders who don’t work within the company or manager employees who extract greedy bonuses. A huge shift needs to happen and counterfeiters will disappear. The only reason fake products can be cheaper is if they are made in low income slave Labour economies and only the U.K. government can enforce Duty in all imports. It’s time all packaging was transparent so that customs can visibly see what’s coming in the country. There’s very little in prosecution enforcement for fake makers, manufacturers, distributors, or all those who are promoting/advertising/helping to sell fake goods over the internet across international borders.
So if the price is significantly lower, you suggest this points out a fake. Could it be possible that a seller may be selling a genuine product but isn’t as greedy as some larger companies with the profit margins? I have found genuine Oral B toothbrush heads are significantly lower prices than, say Walmart/Asda stores. For example, an 8 pack Cross Action set of heads costing £30, are available from online sellers at half the price. On receipt, and subsequent checking against your photos above, they have turned out to be genuine. I think it is slightly disingenuous to state that cheaper indicates fake, when this is often not the case. Sometimes it is just about maximising profit, or just plain old greed.
Thanks for the comment.
Perhaps we could have worded it better within the article, but our intention is not to say just because it is cheap it is a fake.
What we are saying is that the cost can be a very strong indicator to whether it is a fake or not.
Some sellers, are selling genuine Oral-B heads at a very good price, much cheaper than other sellers, therefore not being so greedy about profits. The larger stores like Asda/Walmart are known to sell well below and stick to the manufacturers recommended selling price.
However, there are instances where sellers are selling what look like and are sold to appear as the genuine thing, but they are in fact replicas/fakes. If someone wishes to buy these that is fine. But, price can be an alert if generally speaking the genuine product is never going to be as cheap as these replicas are being sold at.
They are fakes, just very good fakes.
I bought some brush heads on eBay last November. They match original oral b heads in every respect but they are a tight fit on the brush, the bristles seem sharp and after three months of use have not faded. Yesterday the head stop working and a steel pin fell out. They are listed as genuine but I don’t think they are. The only obvious difference is the packaging, the original ones have PET stamped into the plastic.
The seller seems to have thousands of these and is still listing them. seller:beautyisourduty
Thanks for the insight Phil. The quality of the fakes is very high and it is very difficult to tell them apart.
Now reported to Oral-b who are going to investigate and are sending me some free heads as a good will gesture.
Also I bought a pack of 3 pieces of oral b dual clean on ebay months ago and a few weeks ago I realized that it was broken a piece with the risk that I could swallow some fragment of the inside of the toothbrush! now I bought the “crossaction” on Amazon, hoping that this is not false!
Hi i just want to know do the fake ones clean same as the real ones ? do they move in the same way ? will i get the same results ?
Theoretically yes Sam. How effective they really are at cleaning is very difficult to measure. Better to use fake than to not brush at all, but without a clinical study into them I can’t really say for sure,
How would you be sure that the material used is healthy or poisonous?
Hello, thank you for your very informative website. I’m afraid I’m yet another unwitting victim of these fake Oral B toothbrush heads!
Since my favourite Oral B Dual Clean heads have largely disappeared from the shelves of the big retailers, I have turned to Ebay as a source but have been duped twice into buying fakes by unscrupulous sellers. The fake heads break off in your mouth after a few uses. Terrible. I have now written to P&G to find out about reputable sources for the Dual Clean heads. I fear however that they may have been discontinued by P&G due to rampant counterfeiting from countries like China.
Adrian. Sorry to hear this. I do believe they may have been discontinued too in preference to the ’round’ heads. However, P&G should be able to confirm to you.
Unfortunately, I purchased fake replacement heads from Ebay (Fabfabdeals). A pack of 8 cost £15.99. Half of them the toothbrush head came off in your mouth! Very dangerous! I thought they were genuine due to the packaging which looked real enough. This has helped me to recognise fake brushes and hopefully I wont make the same mistake again. I’ve just purchased some from Amazon and they are genuine; I can see the difference now.
I don’t believe that 3 holes at the back of the brush head instead of one indicates it is a fake.
Oral B’s own product videos clearly show 3 holes at the back of the brush heads:
The videos of the “Crossaction”, “3D White”, “Sensitive Clean”, “Floss Action”, “Precision Clean” and “Kids” models all clearly show 3 holes at the back of the brush head.
I think your guide to fakes is misleading, as P&G have confirmed that 3-hole brushes are indeed genuine.
Thank you for the comment regarding fake Oral-B brush heads.
We appreciate you pointing out what was a possible error in our guide to possible counterfeit brush heads.
This post came about after a great deal of research and hands on with different brush heads from official and non-official routes and was put together with the best intentions, based on the information we understood to be true at the time; but have always made clear that the information is provided as a guide and for information only with the content being subject to change.
Having reviewed the videos you have linked us to, we are indeed able to see the multiple cut outs on the back of the brush head. As such we have made some slight revisions to the page on our site to reduce the importance that someone may place on this piece of information.
The text we have in the post does still refer to multiple cutouts on the back of the head being a possible sign of a fake, but have stressed that an original may also have such.
The post was never designed to mislead and only to inform and advise consumers of what to look out for, Throughout the post, on the infographic and in the paragraph ‘Getting the final word on whether it is a fake’ we have made clear that consumers should speak to Oral-B directly for confirmation.
My genuine Oral B toothbrush came with a three-hole version of the crossaction head…but the replacements I just bought only have one hole. Perhaps they have changed the design. I’d advise people to avoid the three-hole version if they can because the plastic between holes can break and lead to very painful pinching in use.
thank you i purchased the multi pack and have had problems ever since as they were fake with 3 holes on the back of the head ,just purchased from a high street retailer only one hole in the back and teeth feel cleaner and no sore gums.
Hi. Sorry to hear you have been subjected to fakes but glad you now have an original and can tell the difference.
Are you able to share any images, links or details on the fakes here in the comments? Anything you can add will really help us and others better understand what to look for and how not to become victims of those who produce fake brush heads. Thanks.
I am very grateful for this video. I bought heads on Amazon and was suspicious because of some negative reviews mentioning fakes, and because the packaging was rather flimsy. But I am not convinced they are genuine, which is reassuring. Many thanks!
That should have read “I am now convinced”. Sorry!