Oral-B has for many years been pushing the boundaries of electric toothbrushes, trying to make them better, smarter and ultimately more useful to you and me.
The Genius X is their best effort yet — it makes use of sensors built into the brush handle and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to track your tooth brushing and educate you on ways in which you could improve your technique and general dental health based on the data it obtains.
I don’t think their current approach is all that bad, I really like it. But, this hasn’t stopped them from working on a slightly different approach, which I think many users will find more practical in day to day use than the current setup of smart toothbrushes.
With statistics suggesting 23% of adults only brush their teeth once a day, despite the NHS recommendations being 2 times, something needs to be done to encourage better brushing habits.
Enter then Oral-B Sense.
Sense gives real-time feedback on your brushing via the charging stand that the toothbrush sits on.
Just like other smart Oral-B toothbrushes, data is transferred to an app your smartphone.
However, rather than a direct connection between the toothbrush and smartphone, the Bluetooth connection exists between the toothbrush and the smart charging stand.
The stand is WiFi enabled. Connecting to your wireless connection at home, it then transfers data securely to the cloud after a brushing session is completed.
This is then sent to your smartphone app, which in turn gives useful feedback, tips and information.
However, the real useful part here is the charging stand and the way it gives useful real-time feedback.
There are 4 lights on the top of the stand,1 for each quadrant.
The stand communicates with your toothbrush and shows you via the lights, which quadrant you should now be brushing and essentially how long you have brushed for.
As you move from 1 quadrant to the next another light is illuminated.
At the end of a 2 minute brushing session, all 4 lights flash green.
And should you see red lights when in use, it means you are brushing too hard and need to reduce the pressure!
This visual timer, pacer, and pressure is in sync with the brush handle itself.
The lights on the stand give you that extra visual stimulus you need to brush for the recommended 2 minutes.
Seeing as the charging stand is for most people within a few feet of where they brush I think this is a clever alternative approach and does not require a smartphone to be at hand.
That said the data still gets transferred back to a smartphone app. This is what really closes the loop and takes full advantage of the technology available.
The app compiles the data and gives you the essential feedback and advice on screen as well as through other notification methods such as email, should you choose.
Think of the whole system as being like having a dental health professional quietly monitoring your activities and giving you helpful encouragement to achieve the best oral health you can.
Oral-B have partnered with Thrive Global to create Oral-B Sense.
The fundamental principle is users develop better brushing habits via a series of microsteps that encourage this and to ultimately spend 2 minutes brushing their teeth twice a day.
Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global is quoted as saying:
At Thrive Global, our mission is to help people develop healthier habits to end the stress and burnout epidemic and unlock their full potential. We help people go from knowing what to do to actually doing it through Microsteps. Oral-B Connect is born out of the same mission, proving that new technology can help us not only transform routine habits from mundane to meaningful, but also increase compliance and lead to better health outcomes. And by embedding behaviour change content within Oral-B Connect’s feedback loop, we can help consumers begin to habit-stack, adding Microsteps like a daily gratitude practice to the 2 minutes they already spend brushing their teeth.
The following video shows the brush in action.
Oral-B Sense Release Date
At the time of writing, Oral-B Sense is launching in the USA first. There is no word yet on the precise launch date or the price, but Oral-B suggests it will be arriving during 2020 in the USA. All being well the UK & European launch will come shortly after.
I will be sure to keep you updated and I hope to test this product out for myself when it arrives.
Is it worth splashing out on new technology like this?
As you might expect, the answer to this is “it depends”.
For most users I would suggest not.
In this section of our best electric toothbrush post I explain why we rate smart features as “low importance” in the overall scheme of things.
Some will find them useful, but for many they come at an unnecessary premium.
That being said, if you do like to be on the cutting-edge of technology and make proper use of the features, they can be worth paying for.
If you would like to stay up to date with toothbrush technology and get our opinion on which new products we rate as worthwhile, visit our toothbrush technology page or sign up to our toothbrush tech newsletter.