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Technology: CES: Smart toothbrushes go from concept to reality as industry giants embrace more tech

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LAS VEGAS — When we first encountered a smart connected toothbrush at CES 2016, we rolled our eyes and wondered aloud if we really needed such an expensive toothbrush with an app to monitor brushing habits.

a stack of flyers on a table: Colgate Plaqless Pro.© Provided by Geekwire Colgate Plaqless Pro.

Fast-forward to CES 2020, and what was once a concept from small hardware startups is now being promoted by the biggest players in toothbrushes. Colgate and Oral-B are both here at CES launching new smart toothbrushes: the Colgate Plaqless Pro and the Oral-B iO.

Colgate’s Plaqless Pro claims to have a first-of-its-kind optical sensor technology that detects biofilm buildup in the mouth and provides real-time coaching via the Colgate Connect App.

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Not to be outdone, Oral-B’s iO toothbrush offers a smart pressure sensor to identify and guide users to brush in the optimal pressure range and a smart display that offers coaching and motivation during your brushing session. The Oral-B iO App claims to use artificial intelligence analysis of thousands of recorded brushing sessions to craft its brushing recommendations.

Oral-B iO.© Provided by Geekwire Oral-B iO.

Pricing for both toothbrushes has yet to be determined, but a representative from Colgate indicated that the Plaqless Pro will likely be in the $250-to-$300 range.

There is even a toothbrush on display that uses radio frequency vibrations to loosen and remove plaque and tartar. The $300 Silk’n ToothWave isn’t available in the U.S. yet, but it claims to be the only toothbrush that can remove stubborn impurities attached to your teeth.

a hand holding a remote control: Silk’n ToothWave.© Provided by Geekwire Silk’n ToothWave.

Electric toothbrushes are popular and admittedly I am a fan of my own Sonicare toothbrush, but whether app-based toothbrush coaching will ever take off is certainly debatable. As a reminder, somewhere around $3 does get you a regular toothbrush that can be quite effective to maintain dental hygiene.

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