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Oral-B Pro 5000 Bluetooth toothbrush review: Don't buy it for its Bluetooth feature

Michael Brown | Feb. 10, 2015
There was a time when Bluetooth was a technology in search of a purpose. Now you'll find the wireless protocol in everything from smartphones to speakers, headphones, light bulbs and yes, even toothbrushes. The smartphone app for Oral-B's Pro 5000 electric toothbrush makes a game out of brushing your teeth, and that could encourage one person in your home to practice better oral hygiene--because its companion smartphone app can track only one person's routine.

There was a time when Bluetooth was a technology in search of a purpose. Now you'll find the wireless protocol in everything from smartphones to speakers, headphones, light bulbs and yes, even toothbrushes. The smartphone app for Oral-B's Pro 5000 electric toothbrush makes a game out of brushing your teeth, and that could encourage one person in your home to practice better oral hygiene — because its companion smartphone app can track only one person's routine.

Dumb as that limitation might be, the Pro 5000 left my teeth feeling almost as clean as if I'd just visited my dental hygienist. That's pretty great. The kit comes with a charging stand for the battery-operated handle (Oral-B claims the battery will last 10 days on a charge, and that it cannot be overcharged).

The stand has covered storage for up to eight brush heads, and there's a travel case that can accommodate the handle and two brush heads. There's only one brush head in the box, however, so you'll need to buy more if other members of the family are to use the handle.

Oral-B manufactures six different brush heads that work with this handle, including models designed to help clean dental work and around orthodontic appliances such as braces.The kit I reviewed came with Oral-B's CrossAction brush head, which has angled bristles that the company says are optimized for removing plaque.

Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three months, so you should consider the cost of replacement heads if you're thinking of buying this electric toothbrush. They cost quite a bit more than a regular toothbrush: Walmart, for instance, sells a three-pack of Oral-B's Dual Clean replacement brush heads for about $20. The app will helpfully remind you to change brush heads every 90 days, so as long as you start using multiple heads all at the same time, you'll know when to replace them.

The handle causes the brush head to oscillate, rotate, and pulsate. Since the brush head performs the cleaning action, all you need to do is hold the bristles against your teeth. I have a bad habit of using too much pressure when I brush my teeth with a regular toothbrush, but I didn't feel that compulsion when using the Pro 5000. And when I intentionally pushed the brush hard against my teeth, a sensor in the handle caused a red LED to flash a warning, and the app displayed a message that I was using too much pressure.

Using the smartphone app

Once you pair the handle to your phone and launch the app, turning the handle on activates a timer in the app that's displayed next to a 3D model of teeth (with one quadrant highlighted). If you're using the default two-minutes-of-brushing routine, the handle will flash and vibrate every 30 seconds to inform you that it's time to move to the next quadrant of your mouth. At that time, the next quadrant of teeth are highlighted.

 

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