Form over function – it’s one to avoid
The Whites Wiggle toothbrush makes brushing the teeth more fun for kids. Parents of even the most stubborn children will find that the unique design and shape will engage them for some time at least.
The brushing results were better than expected, but still not good enough. There are obvious flaws in this product and the approach.
- Handle design
- Battery life
- It does not clean the teeth very well
- No timer or pacer
- Special toothpaste required
The Wiggle mouthpiece style toothbrush is available direct from Whites of Beaconsfield only. You won’t find this in your local supermarket or high street pharmacy store.
You want to consider these brushes instead
Any manual or electric toothbrush is better than this.
An electric toothbrush like the Sonicare for kids connected helps make brushing a bit easier, as well as making the experience more engaging. It is in part why it is our top choice for a kids electric toothbrush.
A more affordable option is the Oral-B Kids 3+ electric toothbrush.
|Sonicare Kids Connected||829 Reviews||£50.00||View on Amazon|
The Wiggle toothbrush is not a replacement for regular brushing
As a parent myself, I am all too aware of the challenges of getting a child to brush their teeth.
As a general rule, I have been very lucky in that my son has taken to brushing fairly well. We have very few toothbrushing tantrums in comparison to some parents.
Yet, a consistent worry I have is how well this product cleans the teeth.
The results were not brilliant.
But, to be fair, they were much better than I expected.
Having tested comparable products from other companies with dire results I didn’t have the greatest of expectations.
But, they don’t get close to a manual or electric toothbrush used correctly.
Just take a look at the before and after results.
These results are based on 2 minutes of brushing.
Note the purple plaque along the gumline of the bottom teeth. There is a lot that hasn’t been removed.
If you are wondering why the teeth are purple, this is because I have used a plaque disclosing solution to highlight the stuff that needs to be cleaned from the teeth.
Here are the before and after results from just 45 seconds of brushing.
2 minutes of brushing did equal a better clean, but surprisingly not much better than 45 seconds.
Some dentists who have used similar products from other brands have referred to these as a ‘gateway’ product.
This means it is used to aid and help with toothbrushing and teaching them about oral hygiene in a positive and fun way.
In the child’s younger years it is more important to enforce good habits and doing so in a fun and engaging way.
From 2-7 years old (approx) it is about encouraging brushing twice a day and for 2 minutes each time. It doesn’t have to be about absolutely perfect technique, although if this can be achieved, even better.
I do not disagree with the approach and concept of a gateway product, if you, the parent or guardian purchasing it understand this too.
The product definitely serves a purpose. But I want to ensure that you are aware that this is not the complete solution. Wiggle can form part of the solution.
It is up to you to find what works for you and your family, but do so by understanding the boundaries of the products.
Unfortunately, Whites Beaconsfield implies it is the complete solution.
Wiggle kids for those with disabilities
Disabilities come in all different forms. And for some parents, toothbrushing can be an even bigger challenge
I believe many dentists would agree with me when I say, the goal is the best brushing routine possible, but something is better than nothing.
It is also better to take time, days, weeks, months etc if in the long term the results are going to be more positive. Forcing approaches and techniques will not always work. This approach can have more damaging long term effects.
The unique approach of the Wiggle kids brush will engage some children in ways parents have not seen before.
This has to be complimented. And there must be an acknowledgement that there is a place for Wiggle in the lives of some children.
But, the fact remains that the cleaning still is sub-standard and it is not a long term solution.
So, try and make use of Wiggle as part of a wider program to get your child brushing their teeth. Do not rely on it as the only option.
Design, usability, clean & general use
There is absolutely no denying that the White Children’s Electric Toothbrush, appropriately named “Wiggle” captures the eye and the heart to some extent.
The box is bold with a red and white colour scheme that extends to the physical product itself.
There is clearly a playful theme going on with #keepsmiling printed on the inside lid of the box.
The box clearly tells you what it is and what it is designed to do.
All the items are positioned within a plastic tray inside the presentation style box.
The toothbrush itself is essentially made up of 2 parts. You have the handle/handpiece and then you have the bristles or brush head or mouthpiece, whatever you wish to call it.
The bristles attach to and from the handle in a similar fashion to a regular electric toothbrush, the main difference being the shape of both.
The bristles are of a U shape and the handpiece is shaped very much like an actual strawberry.
The handpiece isn’t flat, it is bulbous on the main front and back sides. It is wider and thicker at the top and slims a bit towards the base.
On the base are 2 silver dots that align with the magnets on the provided charging stand. These transfer the charge into the battery built inside.
The Wiggle toothbrush doesn’t stand upright on a worktop. You would need to place it in the charging stand for this.
The whole handle is covered with this red silicone cover. On the front is a smiley strawberry face design with big eyes, a nose that doubles as a power button and a mouth.
The back of the handpiece is all red in colour.
You can remove the cover if you want for cleaning. You will reveal the gloss white plastic body of the toothbrush underneath. It is a bit awkward to refit.
The cover gives it a very distinctive look but also makes it feel more grippy in hand, which is good.
Compared to similar products the handpiece shape is a bit more unusual. What I can’t get away from is the theme certainly appeals and gives that fun element.
Even as an adult I quite like the playful nature. I have to give credit here.
The handpiece is said to be waterproof up to a depth of 2 meters. I haven’t verified this and I see little need to do so. I gave it a few good rinses under the tap without issue.
I presume this waterproof design is so your kids can safely use it whilst in the bath etc. Although I am not sure if this is something you want to promote to them?!
Extending from the top centre of the handpiece is the shaft onto which the brush heads fit.
When pushed on they mount very securely and are by no means loose. In fact, it’s quite hard to removed. This is great.
The silicone mouthpieces have a U shaped design with bristles on either side. The idea is that when in the mouth it cleans the teeth of both the upper and lower jaw at the same time.
It helps position the bristles at the ideal angle to get a more effective clean more of the time.
Children and adults alike struggle with applying the correct brushing technique. The fixed position of the bristles takes this challenge away from the user.
Included in the box are 2 different sized sets of bristles. 1 x small and 1 x large. Nothing on the website or even the box suggests 2 different sizes.
There is no suggestion what age the child should be to use each brush head either.
It is important to find the one that fits your child best, it isn’t an exact science, but some sort of guidance would be good. The box says this is for children 2+.
My child is 4 and used the smaller brush head. I would have suggested the larger one would suit children who have begun to get their adult teeth through, so 6 years onwards.
The large certainly isn’t suitable for adults.
When ordering replacements, you simply select small or large.
The silicone is gentle on the teeth and the soft tissues in the mouth. This is a positive, but unfortunately, it means the mouthpiece is very flexible and the bristles don’t achieve the deep and thorough clean they need to. More on this shortly.
Due to the unique design of the mouthpiece, you need to preferably make use of the special foam style toothpaste Whites of Beaconsfield offer. A tube is included in the box.
The foamed toothpaste spreads with more ease and helps ensure better coverage of the teeth. You need to apply it to both the top and the bottom of the mouthpiece each time it is used.
You can use regular toothpaste, but I have found it gets stuck inside the mouthpiece and you spend a lot of time cleaning it out of the bristles. It then doesn’t spread over the teeth anywhere near as effectively.
Because this is a special type of paste, you don’t find this on the shelf of your local supermarket.
At £5 a time it is also more expensive than most typical toothpaste you would buy for a child by about £3 per tube.
I can’t say for sure, as I wasn’t going to use this on my child for such an extended period, but I anticipate about 1 month’s worth of foam in each tube.
Compare this to a regular tube of toothpaste that will last about 3 months and you could well be spending considerably more on toothpaste alone.
As a very rough calculation, £15 on paste for Wiggle compared to £2 for a regular toothbrush. Even if this price was £5 less, it is still a reasonable premium to pay.
Then we have the ingredients of the toothpaste itself.
It has a strawberry/bubblegum flavour. It is very sweet tasting and I think it is safe to say many kids will like it.
This foam toothpaste is fluoride free.
Most dental professionals advocate the use of fluoridated toothpaste for children to help protect their teeth, thus they wouldn’t necessarily approve.
This isn’t the time for a debate on the pros and cons, but it does have Hydroxiapetite.
This is essentially a more modern alternative to fluoride. It is an ingredient more and more dental professionals are recognising and promoting as an acceptable alternative.
The problem is that the product I received doesn’t appear to have this in it. It isn’t listed on the ingredients.
I don’t have a record of exactly what the website said at the time of purchase, but I don’t recall seeing mentions of Hydroxyapatite.
It is possible that the website and the toothpaste foam have been updated in the few weeks since I bought it, and does now include it. I just can’t personally say I have hard evidence of this.
There is no mention of it on the tube I have and then the dedicated page for the toothpaste on Whites website makes no mention of it and the images don’t promote its inclusion either.
Aside from the cleaning results, there are 2 real other flaws and frustrations I have with this product. They are the cleaning modes and the timer.
This brush offers 3 cleaning modes.
What they are exactly is a mystery. This is because nothing is mentioned about the 3 modes, anywhere.
I suspect they are as follows:
The first mode is the most powerful.
The second is potentially slightly more gentle than the normal mode, but I struggle to notice any meaningful difference.
The third mode is massage as it pulses, with weaker and stronger vibrations.
1 press of the nose of the strawberry turns the brush one, a second changes it to the next mode and a third press changes to the massage mode.
Allow the brush to automatically power off a the end of a cleaning mode and it will default to the mode last used when you next turn it on which is handy.
All 3 modes last for 45 seconds and turn the brush off automatically at the end of the brushing cycle.
So then to my big frustration, the timer and the recommendations Whites give.
They suggest brushing with this for 2-3 minutes. Great, this is in line with what dental professionals recommend.
However, mouthpiece style toothbrushes like this have been promoted by many as a quicker way to brush the teeth. This is because they brush 3 surfaces of the teeth at the same time rather than just one compared to a regular toothbrush.
I won’t get into all the maths now, but in theory, at least you can brush for around a third of the time you would. This has been one of the selling points and appeals of the mouthpiece style toothbrush, hence the cleaning modes last 45 seconds.
I like how Whites are promoting the recommended brushing time, but this product is not geared this way.
There is no way to have the brush operational for 2-3 minutes aside from turning the brush on again a further 2-3 times.
I can’t see many kids starting the brushing cycle 3 times over to achieve in excess of 2 minutes brushing each time, can you?
Why configure the product this way?
Yes, most parents are supervising toothbrushing and potentially even doing it for the child. But, from a parent’s perspective making sure you repeat the cycle is frustrating. It is relatively easy to lose track of whether it has been 2 or 3 cycles.
At some point, the child needs to become independent and for those who are of that age, it then falls back to the parent to monitor if they are brushing for this time, if it is only 45 seconds by default.
By no means is a 2 minute timer and pacer the ultimate solution, at least if the brush continues for 2 minutes as standard it encourages the recommended brushing time to the child.
Right then the cleaning results.
Simply put they are not good enough. But, to be totally honest, the results were much better than I anticipated.
The vast majority of the plaque was removed.
Here is a before and after image of my sons teeth. This is with 2 minutes of brushing.
Please excuse the slightly blurry after photo. I am too aware that my son isn’t showing all his teeth properly. Unfortunately after lots of testing, cooperation can be a challenge! Real life folks!
The purple stuff on the teeth is a plaque disclosing solution. Plaque is a substance that needs to be broken up and removed to clean the teeth. It is really the main reason we brush our own teeth as well as those of our children.
Note all the purple along the gumline on the bottom left row of teeth.
Not cleaning this away one day isn’t the end of the world, but isn’t ideal. The problem is repeatedly not brushing this away. It will lead to problems.
You can’t see it in the pictures, but this was consistent on the lower right side of the mouth.
The upper row of teeth were cleaned better and only very limited plaque remained at the gumline. I don’t think my approach with brushing had a part to play here, but maybe it did. I tried my level best.
The silicone bristles don’t reach the gumline and between the teeth well enough to achieve results close to this becoming a replacement to a manual or electric brush with nylon bristles.
I think had the mouthpiece had nylon bristles, the results could have been even better. I have seen evidence of this with other adult mouthpiece toothbrushes.
Admittedly some could be removed with flossing (none done here) but I know from experience that a manual or electric would have removed quite a bit more.
And flossing a childs teeth is a whole new challenge.
Arguably, the longer you spend brushing with this the better the results, to a point. But my own testing would suggest brushing with this for 2 minutes doesn’t produce any significant improvements over 45 seconds to 1 minute of brushing.
Just look below, this result was after 45 seconds. This picture was taken during the same brushing session as the one above. You will see the results from extra brushing was only marginally better.
I am not suggesting brush just for 45 seconds instead of 2 minutes, but you get my point.
I would like such products to be effective. I think the teeth can be brushed in less time and these products can do some of the hard work for us.
If this was effective like a regular toothbrush, brushing each tooth surface for 2 minutes would actually be considered over brushing though. Thankfully we don’t need to worry about this just yet.
There is no real manual included in the box. A small flyer with limited guidance on how to use it.
To be fair, the included guide says ‘insert mouthpiece, brush gently side to side & wiggle for 2-3 minutes.’
Potentially it is self explanatory, but given it is is so different to a regular toothbrush that most are used to, you would think a few more words and maybe visual advice on how to use the product would be welcomed by most.
Similar products advise moving the toothbrush side to side or moving it in circular motions or biting into the mouthpiece etc as you brush.
With my son, I tried several different approaches, none of which seemed to really move the needle in terms of cleaning results.
Best was a combination of chewing and side to side movement with some rotation too. However, this needed my guidance and holding of the handpiece. Few younger children are ever going to manage this.
The side to side motion seems a fair balance in getting some plaque removal but also keeping it relatively easy for the child to use.
When powered on, there are 2 green LED lights that get lit. There is 1 either side of the shaft onto which the mouthpiece fits.
The lights are on top of the handpiece and shine in the direction of the teeth.
Whites don’t suggest these do anything. Similar adults products have lights in this location too. Normally of different colours. They often claim to do something, in reality, they don’t.
I did feel like it was some sort of nod to the green leaves you might otherwise have on the top of a strawberry.
I don’t think it is a big issue for many, but there is no travel case or pouch option for this. So if your kid is staying overnight somewhere you will need to pop this in a bag or something to protect it and avoid accidental activation.
So overall, like many other products of this type, conceptually it is a good idea, but in reality, it doesn’t live up to the expectations and standards required.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Fun and engaging strawberry design
- Bulbous handpiece that doesn’t stand upright
- 3 cleaning modes
- 45 second cleaning time on all modes
- Suggested to use for 2-3 minutes each time
- 2 different sized mouthpieces provided
- Mouthpieces fit over teeth in both upper and lower arch of teeth
- Special toothpaste required
- Cleaning results are not comparable to a manual or electric toothbrush
- Waterproof to 2m
- Green lights on top do nothing
You might have a different opinion to me on the importance of battery life. Whilst, I don’t need for it to last weeks and weeks, I don’t want to have to keep topping the battery up.
As a general rule, 2-3 weeks is ideal. The last thing I want is it to come time for brushing teeth and the brush is flat.
Thankfully this shouldn’t be a problem with the Wiggle brush.
Whites suggest that on a full charge this will last 30-40 days. Perfect.
It isn’t particularly clear what this claim is based on though. Typically you and your children should be brushing twice a day for 2 minutes each time. But, the instructions supplied with Wiggle suggest 2-3 minutes.
Does that mean 30 days use if brushing for 3 minutes each time and 40 days if brushing for 2 minutes?
Perhaps I am being pedantic, but it seems a bit vague.
I have of course tested the battery and in my hands, I achieved a total of 161 brushing cycles.
I am calling them cycles, because unlike many regular toothbrushes where the automatic power off kicks in at 2 minutes, this brush automatically turns itself off after 45 seconds.
If your child was brushing twice a day for just 45 seconds a time, you would achieve about 80 days of use on a full charge.
Whites themselves suggest 2-3 minutes of brushing. To achieve this, during each brushing session the Wiggle brush will need to go through 3 or 4 cycles of 45 seconds.
There is no way to change the length of the brushing cycle.
3 cycles of 45 seconds total 135 seconds. Or to put it another way 2 minutes and 15 seconds. This sounds about ideal.
If my calculations are correct, with 3 brushing cycles each brushing session, you will achieve about 28 days usage time on a full charge. That is pretty good.
If your child used it for 3 minutes each time, the brush would have to be switched on 4 times every session. This would result in 20 days battery life.
With either of my own scenarios, the usage time isn’t all that bad. But, it is a bit out from what Whites themselves suggest.
Supplied in the box is a charging stand.
The stand is white in colour and has 2 magnetic pins on the top that align the Wiggle mouthpiece when it is placed near to them.
When in position it stands upright on the stand.
With power connected, a green light is emitted from the top of the handpiece.
Connecting to the charger is a white USB cable.
Measuring 30cm long, there is a standard USB type-A connector at one end and USB type-c connector at the other.
The type c connector goes into the rounded charging stand and the USB A into a socket on a plug adapter or other USB enabled power source.
I have to give Whites credit for using a very up to date connector type like USB type c. This means you can possibly use other USB charging cables you already own. Your laptop or smartphone might already use this connector.
If you don’t already own such a cable that is fine, you can use the one supplied. It will connect to a USB power brick or other USB power sources like a computer, laptop or battery bank for example.
You could for example use a 3 pin plug adapter you may have gotten with your smartphone or other gadgets. Most of us have an appropriate one at home.
Please note, that this configuration does mean you can’t charge the Wiggle kids toothbrush in UK bathrooms. It will need to be charged in another room where there is access to power.
You don’t get a USB 2 pin plug adapter suitable for UK bathrooms in the box, nor can you normally buy them separately.
It takes about 2-3 hours to recharge the brush.
Summary of battery life
- Claimed 30-40 days of usage time
- Doesn’t last 30-40 days if brushing for advised 2-3 minutes
- Expect around 28 days on a full charge
- Charging stand supplied
- Easy to use magnetic charger
- USB A to USB type C cable provided
- No plug adapter included
- Takes 2-3 hours to charge
Price & where to buy
I have included links to buying options here at the start of the review.
In the section below, I discuss the price more generally and in relation to similar products.
The retail price of this brush is £49.99.
It is certainly at the more expensive end of the toothbrush market for kids, but given it is unique there is some argument and justification for this.
Whites Beaconsfield sell direct. You won’t find this product on the shelves of your local supermarket or high street pharmacy store.
This allows them to have greater control over the pricing. Most of the time it is retailing for the full retail price but it is very easy to get promotional codes to save money.
A quick web search or checking their own website allows you to save around 20%.
This means the price drops about £10, bringing this down to £40.
I think you would probably agree this seems a more reasonable price for a child’s toothbrush.
Like any toothbrush, this does require replacement mouthpieces/bristles every 3 months.
A replacement set of bristles costs £5 a time. This is a bit more expensive than an Oral-B brush head, but a bit cheaper than most Sonicare brush heads.
Where other brands sell them in packs of 2 or more, you buy each head separately here.
You can more than likely get a voucher code to save a little on the price of these too.
To give an idea of the ongoing ownership costs, we like to price these brushes over 3 years.
Although Wiggle comes with 2 brush heads in the box, they are different sizes, so I will assume only 1 is usable.
That means an additional 11 heads at £5 per time. £55 in total. Or £44 if you can save 20% when purchasing.
Add this to the full retail price of £50 and this costs £105 over 3 years. Or, more realistically £88 with the discount.
This is cheaper than the likes of the Sonicare Kids Connected, our top choice. But, the cleaning performance between these 2 brushes is significantly different.
However, what needs to be factored in here too is the special toothpaste that is required. At £5 per tube, it is about £3 more expensive than most other pastes. I also don’t think it will last as long (1 month vs 3), so the ongoing cost here is higher.
If you are on more of a budget, the likes of the Oral-B kids range work out at half the price of the Sonicare option. And they still clean comparably well. They just don’t have some of the value added extras.
I can see how the price of the Wiggle brush may well be very justifiable to you as a parent if it gets your child brushing. However, do just bear in mind, regular toothbrushing is still required.
If you are prepared to spend this money, then by all means, do so. Just be aware of the limitations of this product.
Please note that all prices quoted are approximates and will vary based on location, supplier and time of purchase. These figures were correct at the time of writing and should not be relied upon as hard fact, but used as a guide during your decision process.
Summary of price & where to buy
- List of buying options included here
- Retail price of £49.99.
- Easy to save 20% with a voucher code
- Typical cost around £40
- Replacement bristles £5 per head
- Costs £88-105 over 3 years
- Special toothpaste is an additional cost
- Sonicare for kids is more expensive, but better.
Reliability & long term use
To be honest I didn’t stick to testing this for long enough to be able to confidently comment on the long term durability and reliability of this brush.
It does feel solid enough in hand and the general build quality is satisfactory.
The brush head secures firmly to the handpiece, which is a positive over similar products I have used.
The strawberry design is nothing more than a silicone wrap over the plastic body of the handpiece.
Whilst I have no immediate concerns, I am not convinced that this will stand the test of time quite like other brushes.
The brush does come with a 30 day money back guarantee which should allow you to get a refund if you are not happy.
There are zero references to a warranty with the product or on the manufacturer’s website. I would like to think they would support you for at least 1 year.
I don’t advise buying this toothbrush.
Fundamentally it doesn’t clean the teeth well enough. It is not a replacement for a manual or regular electric toothbrush.
The concept behind the design and approach is good. There is a place for it in the lives of some children. In those instances, it serves as a complementary tool in the teeth cleaning process and you buy it knowing this.
Simple flaws in the product, notably the timer that gives me little confidence to hand this over to my child and expect them to do a good job brushing.
It does also become a much more expensive brush to use over time due to the special toothpaste required.
- Height (without head) – 6cm
- Height (with head) – 10.5cm
- Width – 6.5cm
- Thickness – 4cm
- Weight (without head) – 58g
- Weight (with head) – 69g
All are approximates
- 46dB – Peaks around 65dB when the power button is pressed.