Oral-B IO Toothbrush Review
Mouthpower.org is a reader-supported website. If you buy through links on our site, we may receive a commission.
For 3 days in January, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas showcased the hottest new technology and gadgets to be released in 2020. Among the 4000 companies rolling out their revolutionary products were Oral-B with their brand new iO artificial intelligence electric toothbrush.
Smart toothbrushes have been gaining popularity in recent years with the majority of the market share going to Oral-B’s Genius X and Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart range. Oral-B is set to build on the success of the Genius X by raising the bar even higher with their most advanced toothbrush yet – the Oral-B iO.
Why you need an Artificial Intelligence toothbrush
Just to be clear, it is possible to give your teeth a perfectly good clean with a regular manual toothbrush. However, despite your best intentions, it is quite likely your teeth cleaning habits are not nearly as effective as you might think.
If you were to film yourself as you brush your teeth, you may be surprised to see just how random your brushing technique really is! Bad teeth cleaning habits learned early in our childhood can continue throughout our lifetimes resulting in eventual gum disease and tooth loss.
Besides teeth cleaning with a poor technique, there are other brushing mistakes that can impact on oral health. Research has shown that people tend to overestimate how long they brush their teeth. Although dentists recommend that each teeth cleaning session should last at least 2 minutes, studies suggest that many people are more likely to brush for just 45 to 60 seconds. A shorter teeth brushing session will remove less plaque and distribute less toothpaste throughout the mouth resulting in an inferior clean.
Another common error is to brush with too much physical force. Toothbrush abrasion – scraping away precious teeth enamel, and gum recession – damaging fragile gum tissue, are two common problems associated with brushing too aggressively.
Research and statistics show that tooth decay and gum disease, caused by poorly managed oral hygiene, are two of the most common health conditions around the globe. But this 30-year study showed just how effective a proper oral health routine can be in reducing the chances of tooth decay and gum disease.
When Oral-B set about designing the iO the concept was to create a toothbrush that could correct for all the shortcomings in a person’s teeth brushing performance. They re-imagined the electric toothbrush as a means to re-educate users on how to give their teeth a perfect clean.
Oral-B has spent decades experimenting with toothbrush cleaning motions, bristle hardness, angles, and configurations. By combining their vast knowledge of toothbrush characteristics with more recent Bluetooth and artificial intelligence technology, Oral-B believes that with the iO, they have finally created the ultimate plaque removal tool.
Oral-B iO Electric toothbrush features
Frictionless magnetic Drive
The first core difference between the iO and other Oral-B toothbrushes is that the conventional drive has been replaced with a more efficient linear magnetic drive system. Some of the older Oral B models have more primitive drive gearing that can make them annoyingly noisy in operation. A frictionless magnetic drive should make the iO smoother and quieter than all the previous models.
7 Cleaning Modes
The iO features 7 cleaning modes in total which is one more than any previous Oral-B model.
Each mode is comprised of variations in cleaning head intensity, motion and time. By adjusting these three characteristics Oral-B have created specialized programs like whitening, deep clean and gum health to deal with those aspects of oral health.
Redefined Cleaning Head
Although Oral-B has redesigned the cleaning head on the iO they have remained faithful to the tried and tested oscillating-rotating-pulsating motion that has proven to be so effective at removing plaque.
The head itself features reinforced tuft-to-tuft bristles that are angled to help remove more plaque from hard-to-reach areas.
The design of the cleaning head imitates the cup-shaped professional tools used by dentists to clean and polish teeth.
The only effective way to remove plaque is by disrupting it with a combination of movement and friction. Oral B describes the motion on the iO as 3D cleaning because of the 3 directional movement of the brush head.
The iO features a pressure sensor similar to previous generations of Oral-B brushes. In fact, the technology looks exactly the same as the system in the Genius toothbrush.
The concept of the pressure sensor is very simple, if you apply too much force to your teeth during a cleaning session, the warning light on the neck of the handle will illuminate to advise you to ease off the pressure. This feature was introduced as a reaction to consumer fears that a powerful electric toothbrush could potentially wear away teeth enamel and gum tissue. Although there is no credible evidence to suggest that electric toothbrushes are any more destructive to teeth and gum tissue than manual brushes, a pressure control system as featured on the iO toothbrush is a most welcome safeguard.
2 Minute Timer
Dentists agree that everyone should brush their teeth for a minimum of 2 minutes twice a day.
One of the biggest drawbacks of using a manual toothbrush is that you have no way of knowing exactly how long you have been brushing your teeth. As trivial as this may sound, research has shown that many people overestimate how long they spend brushing their teeth and as a result, they don’t give their teeth the 2 minutes of valuable time required to keep them clean.
Most good electric toothbrushes feature a built-in timer, Oral-B has gone one step further by combining the timer with the iO’s interactive screen to give real-time feedback in the form of a smiley face or frowny face depending on how well you have brushed.
The Oral-B iO is the first toothbrush to use an interactive smart display to give positive reinforcement messages to the user on their teeth cleaning performance.
Removing bacterial plaque efficiently from your teeth is the route-one method to avoid dental disease. While most people think they are doing a pretty good job of cleaning their teeth, the statistical evidence shows that a large percentage of the population is suffering from gum disease related to poor oral care.
To help people push themselves to achieve a better level of oral health the Oral B iO toothbrush offers on-screen encouragement by way of a smile and frown face emoji.
When Philips Sonicare released the DiamondClean toothbrush back in 2011, its innovative wireless charging glass caught the attention of gadget-lovers. Although Oral B has been producing high-end toothbrushes for many years It has taken some time for them to introduce something similar. Finally, the iO will ship with a magnetic charging system that will appeal to the style-conscious consumers.
If you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on a toothbrush, you will definitely expect to get a decent case included for your money.
The iO does come complete with this sturdy, hard top travel case that includes space for one cleaning head.
Most of the value of a smart electric toothbrush comes from the Bluetooth connection between the toothbrush and the mobile app. The app that Oral-B has designed for the iO toothbrush gives you in-depth feedback on your toothbrushing sessions.
The most telling reference data acquired by the app during teeth brushing sessions is the information detailing the teeth that have not been properly cleaned by the brush.
The machine learning code installed in the iO toothbrush tracks the cleaning head as it moves across the front, rear and biting surfaces of the teeth.
The app will analyze data from 16 different mouth zones and guide you towards the areas that are being missed so you can achieve a perfect clean every time.
The practical reason to buy a $200 smart toothbrush like the iO lies in its ability to identify the areas of your mouth that you are not brushing properly.
Critics may be quick to dismiss the built-in artificial intelligence technology as pure gimmickry but nothing could be further from the truth. The 3D AI tracking of the iO toothbrush can analyze 16 separate teeth surface areas to determine if they are being cleaned adequately or if plaque is being allowed to harden into tartar.
Having the ability to actually see the zones of the mouth that are being missed by the toothbrush and then correcting your technique in realtime could be the difference between suffering from tooth decay and gum disease and living your life with a healthy mouth.