Bluetooth may be a connectivity feature you are more used to on your smartphone for sharing files, streaming music and calls to speakers and headphones and more.
The whole concept of it on a toothbrush may seem a bit ridiculous to some. But, the ridiculous is here and its all geared toward improving your oral health.
Oral-B were the first brand to put Bluetooth into a toothbrush, but Philips Sonicare, Colgate and others have followed.
It’s not a feature that we class as ‘high importance’ in our guide to buying a new toothbrush post, but do not be put off by what you may consider a gimmick. It does actually work and for some will add real value. In this post, we therefore explain Oral-B Bluetooth Connectivity; what it is, how it works, and how you can make use of it.
What is Bluetooth connectivity?
Bluetooth connectivity is a wireless standard for short-range interconnection between electronic devices.
It is this technology in your toothbrush, smartphone or tablet that allow the brush and your mobile product to communicate and capture relevant data.
Oral-B Bluetooth connectivity: how it works, explained
This is not an explanation of exactly how Bluetooth works, but how it works in relation to the toothbrush.
You need a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet that has Bluetooth and can run the Oral-B app.
On your Apple or Android device download the Oral-B app from the app store.
You can get the iOS app HERE.
You can get the Android app HERE.
You also need a Bluetooth enabled toothbrush, which at the time of writing includes:
(If you are open to other brands, you might want to see the full list of toothbrushes with Bluetooth available here)
Once you have the app downloaded, you need to turn on Bluetooth from the settings on your mobile device.
Once Bluetooth is enabled on your smartphone, open the app and follow the on-screen direction for pairing the brush. The process takes just a few seconds normally and is completed most often by turning the brush on or pressing the cleaning mode button.
All being well your phone and app will communicate successfully and once complete, there will be no need to re-pair in the future, unless you actively delete the pairing.
With the connection established, the two devices can communicate and share the key data between them.
The brush can send data to an app, such as how long it has been brushing for and if too much pressure has been applied when brushing.
What might be mundane information is then presented in a nice and engaging format on the app screens.
The app can in turn send data back to the brush handle. The number of options has improved over time, but you can do anything from customising the cleaning time, to enabling and disabling specific modes and more.
The sharing of data between toothbrush and smartphone is intended to assist you and I as the users in creating better brushing technique and habits.
The Oral-B brush handles can hold up to 20 cleans worth of data so you need not constantly have the smartphone and brush connected each time you brush, although it can be useful if the app is in front of you each time.
Not everyone wants their phone in the bathroom though, so just make sure fairly regular connections are made and the brushing data will be transferred to the phone for review.
Therefore, it is perfectly possible to go 4 or 5 days without pairing to the app. The next time a connection is made, the data will be synced back to the brush, so you have this cleaning data in your records.
If you use the app at the same time as the brush, you will see a timer on screen showing how long you have been brushing for and how well you are doing. It will show if too much pressure is applied and what cleaning mode you are using.
The whole purpose is to log your activity and help make improvements in your brushing technique to improve your oral health. The app can intelligently make suggestions and provide tips to to further improve your oral healthcare routine.
Brushes like the Genius 9000 even have position detection technology that uses the front facing camera of the smartphone to track the toothbrushes position in the mouth and further learn and improve your approach.
Oral-B are continually updating and improving the app for our benefit.
There are countless features we could explain, but here is a list of the main options available within the app and what they offer you.
- Oral-B Me
- Create an account and your data can be backed up/stored on Oral-B’s system which should make it easy to retain data if you change toothbrush or smartphone.
- You can get personalised data sent through to you for review and encouragement as well as more generalised news and info if you wish.
- This is the live countdown of your brushing routine. It shows how long you have been brushing for, what quadrant you should be focused on, what cleaning mode you are using and if too much pressure has been applied during the brushing cycle.
- Dental care journeys
- This gives the option to customise the app and the toothbrush to aid you in achieving specific oral healthcare goals, be that freshening breath, fighting plaque or improving the health of your gums. Specific conditions are set, some of which are dependant upon the model of your toothbrush.
- Fun Zone
- As the name suggests, it adds a more fun element to the brushing, using the front facing camera to show you on screen with an overlay of a theme. Rewards are offered when certain points are achieved, there are sound effects and Gif recording. You do get the on screen timer and logging of the clean too.
- The log of your cleans by day, week, month etc. See how many brushing sessions you have achieved, what you average brushing time is as well as how long you have applied too much pressure and even when you have flossed (if you logged that data).
- You can even export the data as a PDF for the last 3, 6 or 12 months.
- Unlock trophies for hitting streaks. Brush every day for 2 weeks, that trophy will be unlocked as will the 30 day flossing streak once you achieve this. Built in to act as motivation.
- A glorified interface that links you to the websites of Oral-B approved retailers, who sell their products. Find the brush heads or toothpaste you want and be redirected to that retailers website to make a purchase.
- Dental office
- A number of features here, but it allows options such as having your dentist programme particular care routines, reminders for things like flossing, brushing as well as product recommendations.
- You can also log upcoming dental appointments here for your records.
- Control all the settings of the app, from how the on screen timer looks through to disabling cleaning modes on a brush handle or even deleting a pairing between the handle and the app.
- Apply for an extended warranty, control what content is shown in the app and what notifications you get, including when you are reminded to replace your brush head.
Most electric toothbrushes and associated apps are geared to work for one user.
For example if 2 people shared a Bluetooth enabled brush handle, the brush would track 4 cleaning sessions in a 24 hour period. It would then sync these 4 sessions to the app on the paired mobile device. However, this data the app now has is not accurate because it includes the data from 2 different people, rather than just 1.
Oral-B have addressed this issue to a point, but it is far from ideal solution at this stage, in my opinion.
With one of their Bluetooth enabled brush handles from within the smartphone app, you can disable automatic syncing of the data the brush stores.
In order to maintain correct brushing records for each individual’s brushing statistics, the automatic synchronisation of cached brush data needs to be turned off. This is completed in the app, by navigating to the left-hand menu and following Settings -> toothbrush handle -> Automatic Session Syncing “off”.
With this setting disabled, all users can use the one brush handle in combination with their individual smartphone and installed version of the app. However, any brushing events that take place in the absence of the app will not appear in their statistics and will be lost.
Essentially what this means is that 2 or more users can make use of the Bluetooth connectivity and tracking on their own phone, as long as they have their phone within Bluetooth range every time they brush, to allow for the immediate syncing of the tooth brushing data to their phone.
Another option, perhaps more expensive, but less hassle is to consider either the dual handle packages of the Genius 8900, 9900 or the Smart 5 5950 (view on Amazon).
In these packages you get two brush handles. This will potentially mean rather than sharing brush handles, each user will have their own, and you will only be sharing the charging stand and other included accessories.
Now each user has their own brush handle, their own cleaning data can be recorded and shared to their own mobile device for performance review, without the need for the phone to be in range every time you brush.
Which brushes have Bluetooth connectivity?
This list is subject to change, but currently the following Oral-B models have Bluetooth connectivity:
Where can I get the app?
There is an app for Android and iOS devices. The compatibility of the app with different products may vary.
You can get the iOS app HERE.
You can get the Android app HERE.
There are a number of frequently asked questions surrounding the Bluetooth connectivity and the Oral-B app, the answers to which are included below.
If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below or get in touch.
- Can the brush connect to 2 or more different mobile devices and sync the brushing data for different users?
- Yes. Refer to the section titled ‘multiple users’ above/
- Is it right that the app requires access to my device location?
- Yes. This is a permission that must be granted for the app to work. Disabling or denying this permission will stop the app from working correctly.
- The brush is not connecting to the app. What do I do?
- The cause may be different for each user, but it is worth turning both the mobile device and the brush off and restarting them.
- Make sure that Bluetooth is turned on and your mobile device is marked as ‘discoverable’ within the settings.
- For previously paired devices, try deleting the connection and re-pairing.