Now I'll admit, when I was first asked to review a new bluetooth children's toothbrush, I thought it was a bit of a gimmick. I mean, does anyone really need a smart toothbrush?
But I have to say, from my initial thoughts, I am pretty much won over.
The new Playbrush has been developed by a start-up company as a fun way to get over that perennial problem of getting children to brush their teeth properly. My daughter is 8 years old, so she's obviously past that stage where I brush her teeth for her or monitor her intently. She's looking for more privacy in the bathroom and I need to be able to let her deal with her personal hygiene herself. However, as a mum, I know she hasn't been brushing her teeth for the full two minutes as recommended, and I'm pretty sure she isn't doing all areas of her mouth thoroughly. Luckily for us, her six-monthly dental visits are always issue free, but I'd like to keep them that way and prevent any future dental health problems.
At this festive time of the year, we also have the added problem of advent calendar chocolate for breakfast!
So how is Playbrush different?
Well, it's a silicone cap device which fits snugly to the base of any manual toothbrush (although there is also a new toothbrush included in the box). It means, going forward, we can just replace worn brushes, but still use the device. After a simple charge via a usb, the attachment transforms the brush into a games controller. Using bluetooth technology to connect to your phone or iPad, it works with downloadable games to encourage better brushing.
There are currently four games available, free to download, which gives plenty of variety and your child won't get bored. Each time the teeth are brushed, you can chose which game you want to play and collect points for good brushing. The way the games are devised, it promotes good speed of brushing, different angling and directional movement of the brush to get into all the nooks and crannies of the mouth. Little motivational messages pop up as you go, and there's a countdown timer to keep you going for the full 2 minutes.
I really like the leaderboard idea, it gives a competitive edge which I think kids love and will keep them motivated to try harder. You also get a snapshot report at the end of the teeth brushing session to tell you which areas of the mouth you've cleaned properly, again, great for improving your dental hygiene.
I love that it takes away the twice daily battle of getting my daughter to do her teeth - she's super keen to get brushing now and improve her scores and I no longer have to nag her.
As a parent, you can sign up for a progress report, to keep track of how your child is getting on.
The Playbrush has been developed with leading experts in the dental field, and has been featured in the Guardian and FT.
Because the base is interchangeable, and because you can add multiple profile users to each game, it's really cost effective for larger families, meaning you only have to purchase one of the devices and change it around on different sibling's toothbrushes.
My biggest concern was around having my phone or tablet in the bathroom with all that running water - I've had far too many bowls of dried rice incidents! However they've thought of that too - included in the box is a plastic holder with suction cups allowing you to safely store your phone away from the sink while playing.
All in all, I'm really impressed. It's a very well thought-out product and helps tackle an issue which many parents face every morning and evening, so well done Playbrush!
The Playbrush is currently at sale price of £19.99 making it the ideal Christmas present. It comes with a 2 year warranty and there's a 30 day money-back guarantee if you're not happy. Chose from pink or blue.
Disclosure: I was sent a sample to review. All opinions are my own.