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Medicine Technology

Smart Toothbrush Aims For Better Brushing Habits 102

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "These days, it seems just about every imaginable thing is 'connected.' There's connected thermostats, locks, refrigerators, forks, and so many more. Now we can add toothbrushes to the list. Brandon Griggs reports at CNN that the Kolibree toothbrush syncs wirelessly with an iPhone or an Android device to track brushing habits, announce whether you have brushed thoroughly enough and reward you for good oral hygiene. 'It works just like a regular toothbrush,' says Renee Blodgett. 'The only difference is that all the data is stored on your phone so you can see how you're brushing.' Users download a mobile app and connect via Bluetooth, and the Kolibree documents every brushing via three sensors that record 1) how long you brush, 2) whether you brush all four quadrants of your mouth, and 3) whether you brush up and down (good) instead of just side to side (bad). 'Before Kolibree, the issue is that there has been no easy and quick way to monitor whether you're doing an A+ job or a C- one when you brush, so how can you improve on a habit you don't have any data about?.' There's a bit of gameplay built in, which challenges users to do better next time, and the company has created an API, hoping that third-party developers will come up with additional apps that will inspire users to brush more and more effectively writes Daniel Terdiman. 'With individual health getting more attention than ever, it's certainly possible people will see the benefit of something that keeps a close eye on how well they're treating their teeth, and which challenges them to do better.'"
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Smart Toothbrush Aims For Better Brushing Habits

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  • by tanveer1979 ( 530624 ) on Friday January 10, 2014 @06:23AM (#45914979) Homepage Journal

    Smart toilet paper role......

    • "Curent wipe procedutre may leave skidmarks on pants. Are you sure you want to quit?"

      The "Internet of things" is now getting a bit silly.

    • aha!

      that's what they mean by:

      "roll away the dew!"

      or, maybe I spelled that last word wrong. dunno.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There was a time that only your Mom was nagging... Now it';s your car, your fridge, your phone, all kinds of wearables to check wether you move enough and, last but not least, your toothbrush.

    O tempora, o mores...

  • In other news... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobthesungeek76036 ( 2697689 ) on Friday January 10, 2014 @06:34AM (#45915027)
    Dental insurance on the rise for those without smart toothbrushes. Or those unwilling to upload their data to the insurance companies...
  • Smart toothbrush (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Friday January 10, 2014 @06:59AM (#45915109) Homepage Journal

    Wouldn't a smart toothbrush be a U-shaped device you put in your mouth, it scans your teeth, and brushes them perfectly? While you do something else.

  • If people adopts it, would be pretty great because I could know who not to kiss among the female gender :p. hahaha. On a serious note :s privacy is going so much downhill that they want even your teeth brushing habits! dafuq! Soon tooth paste companies will be sending in ads based on your brushing habits! Technology wise it is pretty neat, but slowly we are giving away our privacy to small things like this, and soon we'll have toilets that measure the speed and distance travelled by our pee and we will be
    • If people adopts it, would be pretty great because I could know who not to kiss among the female gender :p. hahaha.

      To quote Bill Shatner, "You, you must be almost 30... have you ever kissed a girl?"

    • If people adopts it, would be pretty great because I could know who not to kiss among the female gender

      What are you implying here, I am curious? If you are thinking about bad breath, then this would not work because the bad breath could be caused by other reasons besides not brushing their teeth well.

  • ... and you're an adult , then you're an idiot. And anyone so stupid they can't use a normal toothbrush will probably get lost at page 1 of the instructions of this silly gimmick.

    Another solution looking for a problem.

    • by KritonK ( 949258 )
      If you are an adult and you don't know how to brush your teeth, ask your dentist: brushing your teeth properly is simple but not obvious; it's not just a matter of putting toothpaste on the toothbrush and giving your teeth a quick scrub. As for when to do it, it's pretty simple: after every meal. Floss afterwards; again ask your dentist about the correct way to do it. (Yes, this means having a toothbrush and dental floss at work. So what?)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    > and 3) whether you brush up and down (good)

    My dentist says that you should put your toothbrush at a 45 angle from the gum, and brush *one way from the gum to the outside*, since the goal is to remove food lying between the gum and the tooth and prevent formation of plaque, which ultimately leads to gum disease (periodontitis).

    • Re:From gum out (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Friday January 10, 2014 @07:34AM (#45915215)

      Like any medical field, experts seem unable to agree.

      Old dentist recommended something similar, current dentist says circular motion to get in there and "sweep out" the junk. Both seemed reasonably competent, both approaches seem to work.

      I suspect barring special circumstances, as long as you are brushing in some kind of sensible manner and flossing, all is probably well.

      These days I use a good quality electric. I said for years "pff, who needs that..", but I'd never go back. Less effort and does a better job.

      • How did you determine that it was doing a better job?
        • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

          Sounds like an ad from a toothbrush commercial, but next checkup after I started using one the hygienist commented that I my teeth were really clean and the dentist commented that a spot I have trouble with (weird shaped teeth and food gets caught in there) was looking much better.

          Entirely possible I was using the manual wrong though, and I'm mainly in it for the convenience (seems silly, but it's just one of those things I'm not in the mood to think about after a long day..).

  • "(...) the company has created an API, hoping that third-party developers will come up with additional apps that will inspire users to brush more and more effectively (...)" My hope is that people will spend their time and abilities on something other than developing apps for a toothbrush. I would hate to see people become obsessed with something like brushing their teeth.
    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      People spend their time and abilities on what interests them. I generally avoid the "something more worthwhile" argument, as we can't all work on a cure for cancer or whatever society deems the most worthy problem. You need people making stupid gizmos that no one needs. You need really smart scientists and millions of dollars in lab equipment tied up working on Viagra v2. Just the way the world has to work.

      That said, a community of people interested in developing apps for their toothbrush worries me greatly

      • That's fair enough. Let me rephrase then: I hope that those spending their time and abilities programing a toothbrush will do so for only a brief but intense and productive time, and then move to (not move ON to) something else where their time and abilities can ALSO be of great value. That better? ;-)
        • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

          Hehe, that I can get behind.

          I also suspect this is going to mainly be the "facebook games" crowd anyway, so probably not a tragic loss to society. Then again, some pretty big technological pioneers started out doing some rather goofy things, so who knows, we may just get artificial intelligence out of this simply because it was the only way to solve that stubborn bristle motion problem.

          (Also my previous post came out way more serious than intended).

          • It's exactly the kind of place where I would expect artificial intelligence to really come into its own.

            I didn't take your comment all that seriously, especially when you went completely against it with your community comment :-)

  • I'm still waiting for tootbrush that looks a bit like mouthguard which I could just bite for a bit and let it handle the brushing almost instantly.

    • My teeth kind of reached train wreck status about six or seven years ago. I had switched jobs and the dentist I had been using was located downtown and a huge hassle to get to now that I no longer worked downtown, so I quit going to the dentist for a couple of years. I only brushed once a day, didn't floss or use any kind of dental rinse. One day I had a filling crumble and I knew I had to face the music.

      So I found a dentist who did sedation dentistry and went in and laid it out for him -- my teeth wer

  • ...they wanted to sell everything on web, and in 2001 the .com bubble exploded.
    Now they want to connect everything to a smartphone. Is the next bubble close to explode ?!?
  • there'll be a toothbrush with a camera (and illumination) built it. Not only will you be able to see your teeth as you brush them, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a share button that uploaded it to YouTube for the delight and entertainment of your 10,000 closest "friends"
    • Which is: masturbation.

      Clippy says, "You seem to be taking a long time to come. Would you like a more explicit porn website?"

  • NSA - "Look, this guy does not seem to be brushing in enough of an 'American' manner, lets keep an eye on him."
    • Sounds goofy, but smalls things like this can certainly be a strong indicator of true cultural background. It's the little things that a person trying to fit in might not think to change.

  • A smart toilet paper to tell you if you have wiped rigorously enough and share your results automatically on facebook.
  • by oscrivellodds ( 1124383 ) on Friday January 10, 2014 @08:46AM (#45915455)
    People are strange. Many are unable to set and target long term goals. Take brushing teeth, for example. Most (but not everyone) people know that you have to brush your teeth in order to keep them, yet many people don't do it for a lot of different reasons. I see patients every day who don't take care of their teeth and come to me only when something hurts, which is often too late to save a tooth/teeth. They often tell me about other things going on in their lives and I get the impression that they let a lot of things slide until those things demand attention one way or another. They live from one moment to the next, reacting to whatever stimulus demands the most attention. Others grow up in households with little or no parental supervision and have never had an authority figure in their lives tell them they must brush their teeth daily. None of these people - the ones who could benefit the most- are likely to buy a brush like this. While this device seems like a great idea, I think its target market is actually very small. People who are technologically sophisticated enough to understand what this device does and to want one badly enough to spend the money on it are probably already brushing their teeth adequately. I prefer the oscillating head type brushes because they reduce the manual dexterity required to get the brush tips moving in ways that get the teeth clean. With the oscillating head brush you put the head against the teeth and slowly move it across the arch. It doesn't take much manual dexterity to operate it. Sonic brushes clean OK, but you still have to move them around a lot more, similar to brushing with a manual brush. Many people, especially kids, lack the motor control to operate them properly. A power brush that beeps at 20 or 30 second intervals is really all the feedback anyone should need, but then again, knowing that your teeth are going to rot if you don't brush should be sufficient stimulus to get people to brush and it doesn't, so who knows, maybe this will turn out to be a great device. Finally, I question the value in turning everything into a game. What does it say about us that we have to have immediate rewards for every little thing we do in our lives? What about simply teaching people to think critically about their lives and what they want their distant future life to be like? Turning everything into a game keeps them focused on the moment.
    • I used to brush every day, but not always two - three times a day. Always had cavities and inflamed gums. Lost a few back teeth that couldn't be saved (but at least they were in the back). I got a Sonicare for Christmas a few years back. I haven't had a cavity since. Got a check-up yesterday and he said my gums looked great. In fact, cleanings used to be very, very painful. Not so much anymore.

      True story. My second cleaning after getting the Sonicare, the person cleaning my teeth said she was going to get o

  • People are insane
  • The Bluetoothbrush

    *badump tshhhh*

  • It seems to me, if you are motivated enough to buy this device and set up the app, you don't need it. Someone who might benefit from it isn't going to care enough to buy it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So now I'll get ads for Colgate when I stop brushing (assumes my toothpaste is low)

  • Really? I'm waiting for smart food, you know it cleans my teeth as I'm chewing.

    Then a company will come behind that company say 3m and will make smart food better, not only will it clean my teeth but it'll wipe my ass on the way out.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    When I was a kid, my Mom would make me chew up this blue tablet/pill. After a minute the blue would stick to all the plaque and whatnot to see how much you have missed during brushing.

    Some things should not require tech support.

  • There's a bit of gameplay built in, which challenges users to do better next time

    For a dollar a day I pay a kid in China to farm points for me.


  • ...comes from hummingbird. Spanish " Colibrí " (pronounced Koleebree) = hummingbird.
  • Though I see this as being useful, it I am sure is also expensive, but the worst think about it is the inconvenience factor.

    I couldn't imagine having to deal with syncing my iPhone to my toothbrush all the time to pull reports. As this type of "smart" technology becomes more and more ubiquitous - we'd start to do this with everyhing. Our bathroom scale. Our electrical meter. Our themostat, our car, whatever. Having everything talk Wifi ("The Internet of Things") is one thing - and even has its own issues

  • I use and recommend a Sonicare electric toothbrush.

    They aren't paying me to shill so if you prefer a different brand, buy that. (The Sweethome recommends this Oral-B toothbrush [].) But Sonicare is working for me.

    My teeth tend to accumulate tartar buildup quickly. (I'm not complaining; better that issue than having acidic mouth chemistry that erodes teeth.) It used to take a long and unpleasant time for my teeth to be cleaned.

    I got my first Sonicare and started using it, and as it happened I had a dentist

  • This reminded me of this. []

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.