Despite new technology such as Bluetooth being added to electric toothbrushes in recent years, other technological progress in these devices has been relatively slow.
But 2016 and 2017 saw some interesting developments, and these are set to continue into 2018.
You may be wondering how much further the technology in a toothbrush can advance, but in-fact there are several areas in which they are improving:
- Sustainability (brushes that can be recycled)
- Efficiency (brushes that clean your teeth in a shorter space of time)
- Connectedness (brushes that send information to your smartphone to assist with brushing)
So let’s jump straight in and take a look at some of the new products due to arrive next year. We’ll then circle back to other recent advancements from the last year or so, and then look at trends we expect to emerge ongoing.
New Toothbrush Products Arriving In 2018
The ‘Mouthguard Toothbrush’
For want of a better name, we’ve starting referring to these products as ‘mouthpiece toothbrushes‘.
We talk about them in more detail in our mouthpiece toothbrushes explained article, but to give you a quick primer:
You pop them into your mouth like you would a mouthguard and they clean your teeth in as little as three seconds.
By cleaning all three sides of your teeth at the same time, it significantly reduces the amount of time taken by the current approach of cleaning one tooth at a time, one side at a time.
Believe it or not, this approach not only reduces the amount of time you spend brushing, but actually delivers more brushing time to each tooth surface.
All three of the below have been backed on Kickstarter, and we’ll be reviewing them as and when they become available.
- Amabrush – cleans your teeth in 10 seconds. Amabrush was the first of these three produts to launch on Kickstarter and pilot orders for this are due to ship at the start of next year. You can still place an order on Indiegogo – delivery is estimated for February 2018.
- Unico Smartbrush – cleans your teeth in 3 seconds. Still open for backing on Kickstarter until December 9th. Delivery is estimated for February 2018
- Ufunbrush – cleans your teeth in 10 seconds. Similar to the above two products but more aimed at children. Still available to order on Indiegogo, delivery estimated for February 2018.
A battery-free, powered toothbrush
To use Be, you give a dial on the bottom of the brush two short twists and then press a button to power it on and off. These two twists are enough to last for a 2-minute brushing of your teeth.
Naturally it’s not going to clean your teeth as quickly as the above mouthpiece toothbrushes, but its footprint on the planet is much lower, and should you be away from a power point for an extended period, you’ll still be able to use a powered toothbrush.
Be is available for backing on Kickstarter until December 9th , with delivery estimated for December 2018.
Water flossing without electricity
ToothShower is a toothbrush cum water flosser that you install in your shower. It uses the water pressure from your shower as a power source – no electricity is needed.
Toothshower is looking to address two of the things that can be off-putting when it comes to flossing – using string floss can be fiddly, and using a countertop water flosser can be messy.
This isn’t a product that works ‘out of the box’ because you need to connect it to your shower’s water supply, but once installed there’s no need for electricity, and you don’t need to worry about water going everywhere as you floss.
Toothshower comes with three different attachments; an irrigating dual-headed toothbrush, an irrigating tip, and an irrigating gum massager.
This project has been backed on Kickstarter with delivery estimated for May 2018.
The Musical Toothbrush
The Benjamin Brush from BleepBleeps aims to make brushing a more enjoyable activity by playing music via a built-in speaker while you brush.
It’s also waterproof, and charged via USB. The companion app records how long you brush for, keeping track of points so that you can compete with friends and family.
There are two varieties of Benjamin Brush – one for kids and one for adults. It has been backed on Kickstarter and can now be pre-ordered on the BleepBleeps website with delivery expected for March 2018.
New toothbrush tech from 2016 and 2017
Boie toothbrush was a Kickstarter project that shipped last year and is now available to purchase on boieusa.com with worldwide shipping available.
This is another 100% recyclable toothbrush. It also has silver, which has antimicrobial properties, embedded into the toothbrush head.
Genius 9000 & Sonicare DiamondClean Smart
These are the flagship devices from two of the biggest manufacturers in this space; Braun Oral-B and Philips Sonicare. The Genius 9000 launched in summer 2016 and the DiamondClean Smart was launched in the second half of 2017.
The standout feature of both devices is the way in which they connect to your smartphone and provide real-time feedback on how you are brushing. The toothbrush connects to your phone using Bluetooth and shows you via an app how well you are brushing your teeth. For us the DiamondClean Smart is the better of the two (the app performs better) but at the time of writing came with a much heftier price tag.
Something else these two brushes include is USB-charging via a travel case. This isn’t a huge innovation and isn’t a brand new feature (it’s been included in some previous DiamondClean models), but a nice convenience when compared to the charging stands that have been commonplace until now, and we can expect to see it included with more new models.
The DiamondClean Smart also makes use of microchipped brush heads. The microchip tracks your brush head usage and then notifies you via a yellow light on the brush when it’s time for it to be replaced.
New & Emerging Trends For 2018
OK so we are rehashing some of the above here, but for the skim readers among you, here’s a quick look at the tech that’s making its way into the toothbrush market.
Biodegradable brushes and replacement heads
With growing interest from consumers in sustainable products, we can expect to see an increasing number of recyclable / biodegradable dental products hit the market. Biodegradable toothbrushes aren’t completely new – this bamboo toothbrush from Save Some Green has been around for a while – but new designs will start to emerge. The Boie brush is one such product, which has a slick design and is also embedded with silver. Until now having a biodegrable brush has meant having a manual brush, but the Be brush will be 100% biodegradble and compostable and is powered by Kinetic energy.
The three ‘mouthguard toothbrushes’ we have mentioned above brush your teeth within 10 seconds or less; Amabrush and uFunbrush promise to clean your teeth within 10 seconds, while the Unico Smart brush claims to do it in just 3 seconds.
Devices powered without electricity
ToothShower is a toothbrush and flosser that is powered only by water, and the Be brush is powered by kinetic energy.
Improved battery life
Newly released brushes are using Lithium-ion batteries (the kind included with a smartphone), which last longer than the Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMh) batteries that have previously been used. This means that on the average electric toothbrush you’ll be looking at a couple of weeks battery life rather than a few days.
The Foreo ISSA takes things even further and has a whopping 6 months of battery life.
If you own an electric toothbrush, chances are it’s connected to that annoying 2-pin shaver socket in your bathroom. This won’t be the case for much longer – it’s time for the 2 pin connector to move over and make way for USB.
Whether the cable is connected to the charging stand, to the brush directly or to the travel case, several brushes can now be charged via the much more convenient USB connector.
Plug the charging cable into a computer’s USB port, to a USB mains socket if you have one or to a USB mains adapter (like the one that came with your smartphone).
Two brushes that already feature USB charging are the Genius 9000 and Sonicare DiamondClean Smart, but we can also expect new releases to start adopting this feature.
Smart / Connected Brushes
An increasing number of brushes are coming with a companion app that records data about how well you are brushing. The Genius 9000 and the DiamondClean Smart offer real-time feedback on how well you are brushing, while the forthcoming Oclean One enables you to customise your brushing routine.
All electric toothbrushes need to be water-resistant to some degree, but as has happened with smartphones, toothbrushes will start to become IP-rated, meaning a higher degree of water-resistance. The Oclean One has an IPX7 rating, which means its entire body can be washed, while the Benjamin Brush is advertised as being ‘fully waterproof’.
The Benjamin Brush comes with a speaker for playing music while you brush, and the Oclean One features a speaker that will play voice reminders while you brush.
Which features are you looking forward to?
Which of the above advancements excites you the most? Are there any other features you would like to see in a brush?
Leave a comment below to let us know, or if you’re planning to launch your own dental product, get in touch with us here.