Are Smart Toothbrushes a Smart Investment?

Brushing your teeth is the foundation of good oral health and can have a significant effect on your overall health, too. So, it’s important to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your teeth and gums healthy. But does that mean investing in a “smart” toothbrush?

Smart toothbrushes are electric toothbrushes to which features beyond a motorized brush head have been added. This includes things like brushing timers, plaque sensors, pressure sensors and even live video feeds.

One of the biggest upsides to a smart toothbrush is how those features work together to provide more advanced tools. For example, brushing analysis and mouth mapping to help ensure you don’t miss a spot or spend too much time in one area. These insights are available in real time while you brush via a smartphone app.

While these tools are convenient and can help you keep your mouth healthy, there’s a lot more to consider when deciding whether buying a smart toothbrush is right for you.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that learning proper brushing technique can’t be replaced by digital tools. Luckily, the fundamentals are easy to learn from your dentist or hygienist, who can also give you insight into the effectiveness of your brushing habits. While a smart toothbrush may analyze your brushing much more frequently than a dentist can, it won’t do so as accurately, and there may not be a lot of added value in getting such specific feedback so frequently. Once you’ve developed consistently good brushing technique, the usefulness of a smart toothbrush decreases dramatically.

Cost vs. value

Brushing timers and even pressure sensors (two of the most helpful features) are available in electric toothbrushes that are much more affordable than their “smart” counterparts, which can cost over $300.

Smart toothbrushes come with other costs, too. Analyzing your brushing will increase your daily screen time which, especially before bed, can negatively affect your mental and physical health. In addition, your smart toothbrush might collect data from your brushing habits to be sold to third parties by the manufacturer. 

Ultimately, whether or not a smart toothbrush is right for you depends on your financial situation and how much value you think you’ll get from having one. It’s safe to say, however, that how you brush your teeth is much more important than what you brush them with. In other words, a ten-dollar brush in a practiced hand will probably lead to a healthier mouth than a three-hundred-dollar brush in an unpracticed one.