The Bonkers, Bristly Story of How Big Toothbrush Took Over the World

Toothbrushes have been around for hundreds of years. This article is about electric toothbrushes, which are less than 100 years old -but probably older than you had imagined. The history of the electric toothbrush is written here from a United Kingdom point of view, but don’t be so fast to make jokes about British teeth. Research shows the state of British dental health has risen immensely since the National Health Service was instituted. Today the market for electric toothbrushes is dominated by two companies.  

Now, there are 41 different electric toothbrush options on the Oral-B website alone – some of which are different colours of the same essential kit (staid “black” versus exciting “anthracite grey”, for instance), but many of which have different features. They range in value from the Vitality Plus, which you can get for less than £20, to the all-singing, all-dancing Genius X Limited Edition with Artificial Intelligence (really), which will set you back £340. At the time of writing, Oral-B’s main rival, Philips Sonicare, offers the CleanCare+ for £18, the DiamondClean Smart for a rather steeper £299.99, and a wide variety of options in between. The high-end options are, of course, Bluetooth® enabled. The industry is worth – depending on which market report you believe – between £1 billion and £2 billion a year, and is projected to keep on growing. As developing economies grow and gain disposable income, more and more people in once-poorer countries are buying them.

But in the end, they’re still toothbrushes. They still have a single goal: to make your teeth and gums healthier. The question is: do they work?

And that’s the question. The real value in the article is how it explains the state of the research into electric vs. manual brushing, and what it means for consumers, at Wired. -via Damn Interesting

(Image credit: William Warby)

Source: neatorama

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