Electric toothbrushes are determined to stay at the forefront of bathroom gadgetry and the latest Oral-B model arrives with Bluetooth 4.0, ready to bring the Internet of Things (IoT) to right to your gum line. It syncs with an app to detail your oral hygeine.
It is, like all Oral-B electric toothbrushes, built around a design that's been working for Oral-B for many years. In that sense, although this is a techy toothbrush, it has years of experience behind it, so you know you're going to get a good clean from the off.
But can technology elevate your toothbrushing experience and should you put your money where your mouth is?
The design of the Pro 6000 SmartSeries handle isn't too different to others in the Oral-B range. At the top of the range, the design is more tapered than the mid-range brushes, presumably to accommodate more of the internal tech, or battery, contained in the body.
The Pro 6000 is well balanced in the hand and the rubberised finish on the front and back means there's plenty of grip on the shaft of the brush. That's important because a good grip is essential for perfect control of the brush around your mouth.
There are two buttons on the body: one to start and stop; the other to switch through the five brushing modes that the Pro 6000 offers.
The design of the replacable brush heads is very much the same as it has been in previous years, so if you happen to have a stock of heads from your last Oral-B/Braun toothbrush, then they'll probably fit.
However, the Pro 6000 comes with a selection of different brush heads, as well as a case for you to keep them in. This means you can at least sample the various heads including a whitener and one for sensitive brushing amongst others. There are unique programmes for some of the different heads.
There's also a range of illuminations that the Pro 6000 offers. One of these around the neck is designed to indicate when you're pressing too hard, when it will turn red to alert you.
This information is also reflected on the accompanying SmartGuide, a separate unit with LCD display that accompanies your brush, times your brushing and lets you know which programme you're using, as well as offering a star rating for your brushing performance.
Aside from these pressure illuminations, there's a blue battery indicator, and an indicator for when the toothbrush is transmitting data to your smartphone, via Bluetooth.
Oral-B app brings connectivity
That's right, the Pro 6000 will talk to your smartphone. Being the first connected toothbrush, the aim is to provide more information so that you can take better care of your oral hygiene.
There's the suggestion that you can share this information with your dentist, and we imagine that some will, but many will just examine it themselves. The app - at the time of writing - is only available for Apple's iOS, but Android is promised at some point from this month as an update to the existing Oral-B app.
Connecting our iPhone 5S was simple, with the app taking you through the process. There's brief guide, and navigation throughout the app is intuitive.
You can view statistics by day, week and month. If you're the sort of person who, for whatever reason, forgets to brush, then staring at the stats might prompt you into a better routine.
There are a range of achievements you can obtain, although these are probably better seen as something that fun, rather than something to bust a gut over. You don't really want to be staying up late just to get the Midnight Brusher badge, do you? There's also the option to log flossing and mouthwash use.
It's actually a two-way app, as it can be used to send information back to your toothbrush too. You'll be able to change the programmes: if you don't want the whitening programme, you can remove it. You can change the order and so on, so you can get to exactly what you want.
The toothbrush will store up to 20 brushing sessions, which ought to be enough for 10 consecutive days, so if you're separated from your phone for whatever reason, these no need to panic, as you can sync after the act.
Integrated into the app is a range of other content too. You'll be served location-based weather, as well as news, so you can see what the day has in store for you while in the app and watching your brushing progress. The idea is that you'll be standing in the bathroom with your toothbrush in one hand and your smartphone in the other.
There's a clever listening function too. If you don't have Bluetooth on your phone switched on, this will enable the timer to start, so that the session can be tracked. You also don't have to be in the app for the session to be tracked. You can start brushing whilst reading Pocket-lint in the browser, switch over to the Oral-B time, and it will be running. This works both using Bluetooth, or the listening function, which is pretty smart.
We've used the Oral-B Pro 6000 SmartSeries since launch in the UK and are impressed by the clean feeling it offers. Using vibrations, it divides each brushing session into 30 second sections, each designed for a quarter of your mouth. Moving systematically, the recommended two minutes of brushing should then give you a comprehensive clean.
We've been using an electric toothbrush for a number of years, so anecdotally we can say the Oral-B 6000 has improved our cleaning, but mostly because our manual brush action wasn't as efficient. When we moved to an electric brush, our dentist at the time reported that he could tell the difference and that was enough to convince us.
The Pro 6000 continues the evolution of the electric brushing experience and the pressure sensitivity is useful, but we rarely find that a problem, because of the natural feel you get when applying the right pressure. In fact, the app told us that we'd only applied too much pressure for six seconds of cleaning in the last two cleans.
The battery life has been good too over the months we've been using the Pro 6000 too. We're getting about 10 days from it, although the charging time is pretty long. If you have a shaver socket in you bathroom, you can just leave your toothbrush permanently situated on the charger, without risk of damage to the battery.
We also find the separate SmartGuide useful. It doubles as a bathroom clock when not in action, and acts as a reminder to get those important two minute cleans done twice a day.
There's no doubt that the Oral-B Pro 6000 SmartSeries electric toothbrush is an excellent device. It might appeal to gadget fans because of the Bluetooth connectivity, although priced at £229, that might be a luxury you really don't need.
If you have a particular dental routine and can work with a dentist, then perhaps this additional data will be useful, but for many we suspect it will be a novelty that's not worth the cost initially. If you already have a toothbrush with the separate SmartGuide and find that useful, then the Pro 6000 expands that experience, with the app offering all the same information and much more.
The Oral-B Pro 6000 SmartSeries is an interesting model. It's undoubtedly very good at the job of cleaning teeth, but as the first connected toothbrush, it's just a little too expensive for now at the £229 asking price. However, it's already available for half that online which makes it a far more appealing prospect.
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