How the Kolibree 'smart toothbrush' improves dental hygiene
The brush includes 3-D motion sensors that, when linked with the user's smartphone, can tell them what spots they are regularly missing in their brushing.
Kolibree technology includes 3-D motion sensors that can identify the area of the mouth in which the user is brushing. These sensors include a gyroscope, accelerometer, and a magnetometer that detect the location and angle of the brush, then analyze data to provide instant feedback to the user. This powerful technology also has the ability to store data, and create a personalized visual “check-up” to show where the user brushed —and missed—over a 7-day period.
The check-up features allow you to see, for instance, where you are consistently missing the posterior mandibular and maxillary molars, the lingual side of the lower central incisors, or other important areas for bacterial plaque removal and cavity prevention.
The fun part for kids is that motion sensors inside the toothbrush handle allow the brush to act like a game controller. When paired via Bluetooth to the user’s phone or tablet, children are able to play games designed to guide them through a journey that builds better brushing habits. Children stay fully engaged in mindful brushing for a full two minutes. The better you brush, the better you do in the game. With interchangeable color-coded brush heads, and accommodating up to five users per brush, siblings and parents can enjoy family-friendly competition on their smartphones or tablets. Grown-ups also enjoy the personal health tracking and guidance in the app’s coaching features.
At the end of each two-minute cycle, a child sees how many points, badges and game coins he or she earned, based on recommended brushing compliance.
"Kolibree's innovative technology educates the user to brush better, longer, and more thoroughly," said dental hygienist Elizabeth Farrell, RDH, BSDH, from Hurst, Texas, who is now working with Kolibree as a consultant after using the Kolibree toothbrush for about a year.
Kolibree’s sonic toothbrush has soft bristles that gently remove plaque with 15,000-21,000 vibrations per minute, depending on the amount of pressure applied by the user. The toothbrush weighs only 2.5 ounces and was ergonomically designed to easily fit the hands of young children, older adults with grip problems, and everyone in between.
A 2016 survey of about 200 Kolibree users found that:
- 87% of users feel that the Kolibree toothbrush is effective at removing plaque.
- 79% think their dental health has improved.
- 81% of parents say the toothbrush and games are easy for kids to use.
- 80% use the app to identify which teeth they need to brush better.
- 75% would recommend Kolibree to their friends and family.
Marcia Simon is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and principal of MSE, a public relations company specializing in healthcare and technology.