Starting from the day you join dental school onwards, I don’t think you, anyone in your family or any of your close friends will ever need to buy toothpaste again.

I’m only a second-year student but I’ve already received so many tubes of toothpaste (and lots of other random freebies). So if you ever receive a present from me, wrapped suspiciously like a tub of toothpaste, it probably is one. I don’t really see this as a major perk though, it’s just a mini occupational reward for having chosen to become a dentist.

If you worked for Walkers, I bet you’d get loads of free crisps, or if you worked for Gillette, you’d probably get loads of shaving foam – that’s really all it is.

Plus, we do pay £9,000+ a year in tuition fees, so if you bear that in mind, even one of the most expensive kinds of toothpaste: Oral-B Pro-Expert (at £4 a tube) doesn’t come close to helping us re-coup some of the extortionate fees. I’d have to get two thousand two hundred and fifty tubes of Pro-Expert before I’ve made the money back for one year’s tuition. And even then, I wouldn’t have got any money back, just a whole load of toothpaste…

I will admit though that I did get excited last week (12th October 2016) when a clinical expert who works for the company Oral-B came into the dental school to give a talk to all the second year dental students about Oral-B’s products. At the end of her talk, she gave each student a few tubes of paste, a blue Oral-B branded satchel bag and their top of the range electric toothbrush!

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So I now own an electric toothbrush supposedly worth £279 (according to the Oral-B rep). They never seem to be on sale for full price though – always with some level of discount on.

It has a fancy name too, which makes it sound like it’s from the future. It’s called the Genius 9000.

Speaking with the Oral-B rep, she said that students at all of the UK dental schools will have a similar session where they all receive a toothbrush. In fact, they visit twice in every dental student’s tenure, once in the second year and then again in the final year – each time receiving a new toothbrush. In a few more years then I’ll be getting another toothbrush from Oral-B, which my mum has shotgunned already (she doesn’t understand the rules of shotgun).

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The box my toothbrush came in specifically says it is meant as a sample product for ‘Dental Professional Trial’. I’m not sure if that means the brush is physically any different from the Genius 9000 that is available for the general public to buy, or if the box it comes in is different simply to differentiate who the intended end user of the product is supposed to be.

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The box my toothbrush came in

It’s probably just so that we don’t list ours for sale on sites like eBay or Gumtree to get some money instead of actually using it – they did say that the company (Oral-B) will track the e-commerce sites (like eBay) to make sure they aren’t getting passed off by us broke students for a quick buck. I see their point though, it defeats the objective of us receiving a complimentary product if we aren’t using them. The whole point of us receiving the free electric toothbrush is so we get a first-hand experience of what it’s like using an electric toothbrush. So that we can then potentially recommend our patients go out and buy one themselves.

We all got a standard white brush, but online you can buy the same toothbrush in black or rose gold. If I could have chosen my colour, it definitely would have been a black – I bet Batman uses a black Genius 9000 to clean his teeth!

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The Genius 9000 is available to buy on Amazon.com for ~£130 

For pretty much all my life up to this point, I’ve used a manual toothbrush. My favourite was always the Sensodyne brushes which I’ve been using it ever since my mum paid for me to have an appointment with a dental hygienist for some scaling when I was ~15/16/17 years old (so long ago that I cannot remember) and the hygienist recommended it to me. She told me it was best to use a brush with a small head and soft bristles, as it was kinder on the gums.

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This is the brush I’ve been using for the past ~8 years.

And to be honest, before I was taught the correct method and technique to brush teeth when I was in the first year at dental school, I never properly brushed my own teeth. I used to brush my teeth quite aggressively and randomly for about 45 seconds without any system for where I would focus the cleaning, and I only rarely stopped to brush them in front of the bathroom mirror. My brushing was not systematic as it should be; it was all very random, so some teeth got more attention than others. Supposedly that’s also what most people do…

The only person that my poor brushing technique has affected is me, my teeth aren’t the pearly whites you’d expect your dentist to have. There are a lot of things I would tell 13-year-old Ali if I could go back in time, and one of them would definitely be to look after my teeth better!

When I was a kid I got told a few times by different people, mainly by mum and dentist that I need to take care of my teeth properly because, if you take care of your teeth, they will take care of you for a lifetime. If only I had listened to that advice better! But anyway, at least I now have this new electric brush to allow me to look after them properly moving forward.

Electric and manual brushes are both pretty much equally as capable of cleaning teeth properly – if used correctly! But I’d say it is a lot easier to use an electric brush correctly than it is to use a manual brush.

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I’d like to think that dentists and dental students at the very least all brush their teeth thoroughly: ensuring all surfaces of all teeth have been brushed, doing it twice a day and for ~2 minutes each time. But realistically, the majority of people won’t brush correctly and have probably never been told how to brush properly.

This is something that the NHS understands and for the past 10 years or so they have been working hard to restructure the dental public healthcare plan via new NHS contracts to focus on educating patients properly with the goal being prevention over treatment. And of course one of the most important aspects of prevention is to try to get people to brush their teeth properly/better.

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The NHS Prevention Toolkit suggestion is toothbrushing should be done twice a day ideally, once at night just before bed and any other time during the day

I had that same excited feeling you get as a child on Christmas morning when I opened the box containing my new electric toothbrush.

But the excitement rapidly faded when I realised that it only had the two pinned electric charging socket and of course the wall plugs in my house were all three-pronged. So basically I couldn’t charge it, or use it until I went to the shop to buy a power adaptor. What an anticlimax!

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I had to go and buy an adaptor plug before I could charge my toothbrush

It’s been almost a month since I got the brush, and I‘ve been using it twice daily.

At first, it didn’t feel normal, the technique you need to use when brushing with an electric brush is totally different to how you brush manually. Instead of the small circular motions that I had been doing for over 20 years, all I need to do now is switch the brush on and slowly move it from tooth to tooth, and let the automatic movements of the brush give my teeth a thorough clean.

To be honest, it still doesn’t feel 100% natural to me as I haven’t gotten completely accustomed with the style of brushing but it feels a lot less awkward than it did at first, and I’m sure with time it will be totally natural and become 2nd nature.

Apart from the difference I’ve experienced with the actual brushing, I’ve got to say, and with confidence, that my teeth feel significantly cleaner after having brushed with the Genius 9000 than used to feel after I’d use the manual Sensodyne brush. I can’t prove this statement, unfortunately, maybe I should have measured by plaque levels using a disclosing tablet before and after. They just feel cleaner, and look it in the mirror!

I feel I need to stress that this is by no means a paid endorsement, and is not influenced by any representative of the Oral-B brand – I’m simply writing my own thoughts and opinions based on my experience with the product. I would be honest and state my dissatisfaction if I didn’t like it, or thought it was a bad product – but it’s honestly great.

Many of you reading this will have thought there needs to be some effort made to justify why this Genius 9000 costs so much! Unfortunately, I can’t directly compare it with other electric brushes because I haven’t used them or even know much about them…but this one is superb so far!

If you don’t already have one, I think you should go out and buy an electric toothbrush – it doesn’t necessarily have to be the Genius 9000, or even be an Oral-B branded brush. There are a number of different options available, just have a look online read some reviews or just check out the aisle selling dental products at your local supermarket/department store then make your own mind up.

I think in terms of the different brands available, the main three are Oral-B, Colgate and Phillips, but, Oral-B offers the widest range of offerings.

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Loads of different electric toothbrushes on the shelves at my local Sainsbury’s. Prices ranged from £9 to £85

If used the correct way, an electric brush will improve most people’s oral hygiene and ultimately may lead to less need for you to visit a dentist with problematic teeth/gums.

And like I said before, you can maintain perfect oral hygiene with a manual brush, but I would strongly recommend you at least consider purchasing an electric brush when the time comes for you to buy a replacement!

I’ve said it already, but you definitely don’t need to buy this Genius 9000, which is the top of the range and quite expensive – pick one that your budget allows for and the rest is history.

Features of the Oral-B Genius 9000

The Genius 9000 comes with a lot of cool features and in-built tech. Some are really useful and others seem a little bit unnecessary to me.

It comes with multiple different brush head attachments – each with a different purpose (eg. one head has softer bristles for sensitive teeth). Obviously, this is great as everyone has a different priority when brushing their own teeth.

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Long Battery Life – a full charge lasts ~12 days (charge capacity based on 2x 2min brushing sessions per day). I’ve tried it, and it truly does last a long time – ideal!

A sleek, SMART travel case that can hold the brush itself, and two brush heads. It also charges the brush AND your smartphone when they are both connected! This comes in very handy when you’re travelling and need to bring your brush with you. It’s a lot better than throwing your brush into a washbag unprotected like I used to do.

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It comes with a separate mini case for the brush heads where you can store any brush heads that aren’t being used. But since I only really use one brush head I don’t really need/use this.

Position Detection technology allows you to see where you’re brushing and so you know where you need to brush – this is a cool concept. I haven’t tried it yet and I don’t feel a need to, I know very well where I’m brushing but it’s probably a useful feature for people who need the direction.

Live Feedback on your Brushing via the bluetooth connected smart phone app. Again, it’s not so useful/exciting for me but might be helpful for other people.

Weather update via smartphone app – this is a nice touch. Especially when you’re brushing your teeth in the morning, after your shower so you know what the weather is like outside so can dress appropriately. But again, I’ve been managing well so far without having the need for Oral-B to tell me if it’s going to rain at 3pm.

In-built timing – the ideal time you should spend brushing your teeth is 2 minutes (120 seconds), with 30 seconds dedicated to each quadrant. The brush flashes to notify you after every 30 seconds so you know to move on to brush the next quadrant and it flashes twice at 2 minutes. I have found this to be a really helpful indicator for how long I should be spending brushing – without this feature you wouldn’t be able to know for sure when you’ve spent enough time brushing.

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Ideally, you should spend 30 seconds brushing all surfaces of the teeth in a quadrant then move on. The Genius 9000 takes care of the timings and tells you when to move on.

Different Colours – you can personalize your brush by choosing a different colour (12 options available) for the light up strip to glow when you switch the brush on.

Pressure Sensor – the brush head is clever and can tell when you’re applying too much pressure on the brush whilst it cleans your teeth. If you do apply too much pressure, it flashes red and also reduces the motion of the brush head to compensate until you ease up. It’s not ideal for your tooth and gums if you brush too aggressively.

Six Different Brushing Modes – Although there are 6 different modes, I’ve just been using the daily clean mode and to be honest don’t think I’ll really use the others much if at all.

 

 

Although I’ve listed most of the cool features that this toothbrush has above, to be honest, I am not majorly excited by most of them as you probably have established. I don’t feel the need to use technology for the simple task that is brushing my teeth. Whilst it is a nice concept to get feedback on your brushing, and check the weather for the day ahead whilst bushing it isn’t going to change my life.

Having said that, Oral-B did recently win an award at The Dental Industry Awards 2016 for Best App of the Year. Just because I am not a fan of using an app to help me when brushing my teeth doesn’t me you ignore it, after all, it is recognised as a decent piece of software in the dental industry and therefore is definitely worth using if you’re interested.

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For me, the only genuinely useful features are: the red light signal to notify me if I’m brushing too hard (i.e. applying to much pressure on the brush) and the timing feature that tells me when it’s been 30 seconds and then when it’s been 2 minutes in total.

And I suspect that even for people who do like the tech-y features, I’m sure for most, the novelty of a phone app Bluetooth connection will soon be lost. It’s just too much hassle to do on a daily basis!

If most people are like me, they usually just brush twice a day:

  1. In the morning before leaving home – and so don’t have a lot of time to set up their phone
  2. Then again before bed – and don’t want to stand in front bathroom wasting a valuable few extra seconds setting up their phone when instead they could be in bed

Long story short, this Genius 9000 brush is fantastic and I’m happy to have received it. Thank’s to Oral-B who have won me over – I’m a sucker for a quality freebie. And one of Oral-B’s commonly used tagline for marketing is: “The #1 brand used by dentists worldwide” – I’m starting to see why this is the case!

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There is gold standard evidence through Cochrane Reviews to back Oral-B’s electric toothbrush technology

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I will write a specific blog post soon about the differences (advantages and disadvantages) between a manual and electric toothbrush so I haven’t gone into too much detail about that all here and explore the Cochrane Review that compared the two.

Cheers Oral-B.

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