* Prices may differ from that shown
For the last three months I have treated myself to a new cordless Sonic brush, but before I even try to pen that review, I have been travelling away from home looking for jobs and taken my old Braun Advance battery powered toothbrush with me rather than worry about having to take my charger along with me, if I was to take my cordless Sonic brush. Since I bought my Braun many years ago, it would appear that some Boots stockists have ceased selling this excellent cheaply priced electric toothbrush. But, as I found out the latest ranges of Oral B consumables have all been redesigned and relabelled with far easier to understand packaging and for which brush heads are compatible. Even alongside my old Philips Sonicare toothbrush before it died, I retained the Braun because of its excellent use without fear or worry of having to pack a battery charger - and it also provides a cheaper solution whenever I have guests staying because the replacement heads are cost effective.
The other day I went shopping to get replacement brush heads for my travel battery powered toothbrush and to my amazement I came across a cleaning pack alongside the usual replacement packs of brushes I buy every year. Whilst it would appear that currently at Boots, Oral B have redesigned their whole blister packs with more heads available for virtually every model made, Oral B have also produced a rather natty "Essentials," kit for additional mouth/oral hygiene; in some countries this kit is re-worded for children.
At £11-24 however it is rather expensive to pay out for just three very different cleaning heads but they are available for a number of different Oral B Braun models. For a start you get a tongue scraper, a three bristled headed attachment called an "interspace," brush and the last attachment, an interdental head which comes complete with 10 individual interdental spears. Each attachment head matches and mimics the design of the Oral B brush heads on their spine and body which means you can use these brushes for any Oral B model that comes under the ranges of "Triumph," "Professional Care," "Vitality Professional Clean," "Vitality," "Vitality Dual Clean" and "AdvancePower 900/400." The only ranges of which this pack is unsuitable for is the Sonic ranges known as "Vitality Sonic," "Oral B Sonic Complete," and "Cross Action Power." Having used similar manual attachments like a tongue scraper and a small bristle brush which mimics the style and design of the Interspace brush, not to mention micro type cleaner interdental wire brushes, is this kit worth its weight in gold or another money maker for Oral B?
The head which is easiest to dismiss firstly is the tongue scraper even though it vibrates, it eases up quite a lot of flem on the surface on my tongue and within that flem of course, I'm assuming there is dirt, because I can't seem to find dirt with this implement. The scraper itself isn't rough to the touch and on the underside a green ribbed section acts as the scrubber but doesn't oscillate as Oral-B's website or the packaging would have you believe! The tongue scraper and the interdental tips are two attachments which don't have a motor inside so quite how they can oscillate is beyond me! The Oral-B tongue scraper is a small head about the size of a 10p coin in its diameter and although the plastic design is reasonably durable, the motor's vibration from the Braun hand held part is enough to loosen any dirt, although frankly I don't generally consider to having a dirty tongue. The extra impressive factor is that unlike the hype of manual scrapers I've used where I've felt ticklish doing it, the vibrations are gentle enough not to tickle your tongue or any other part of the mouth. As with most tongue scrapers, Oral B's is Y shaped and has a hole in the middle with the green scrubber at the top. However I just don't think its worth the bother and if I can't tell the change of results, why bother? Another downside of the tongue scrubber is its size; I've used bigger scrapers which do a better job but at least children can use this implement and in this case presents the reason to why this kit is marketed for children in other countries.
The next head for the chop is the Interspace brush. Now, I don't have a manual interspace brush that uses bristles, but a hard stone like interdental pierced pencil that has two stone tips to dislodge any food between my gums; my dentist gave it to me when the interdental bristles proved to be a bit more sensitive than I would have liked.
The comparison however hasn't been particularly aspiring. The interdental brush has three compacted bristles (two are coloured blue whilst the other set are in contrasting white) rather like a triangular formation sat on its cylindrical round head, and of course with its motor built in, it will oscillate rapidly. Around my mouth however, the bristles easily fit into the spaces between my teeth and into my gum line, but even after the two minute brush timer kicking in, I can still feel plaque and tartar on the back of some of my teeth. What the interdental brush is good for is to build extra confidence around crowns and fillings that may prove to be too delicate for normal brushing; now that may well sound like the marketing speaking here, but unless you sit down and try to remove bristles with any bristle head, you're not likely to get the same effect! However to suggest that it takes the place of deep cleaning is a bit far fetched as it didn't sufficiently clean tartar build up with one cleaning session and in this instance proves that my Sonic brush is better by its own design here.
The interdental tips however are slightly stranger than wire bristles I'm used to sandwiching between the gaps in my teeth and certainly if the dentist goes about it, I've had the blood emerging between the gums due to deep rooted tartar and plaque build up. Unlike smaller wire like bristles of the manual brushes which are easier to control and can be bent around each tooth, the rubber interdental tips can be broken off their holders (you get 10 green thin rubber interdental tips) and locked into the top of the head attachment. Whilst they don't move, the vibration from the toothbrush unit itself should be enough to loosen any dirt; or so Oral B would have you believe.
In reality and due to their smooth rubberised design even if they have a wispy tip at the very top and are extremely soft and pliable, the lack of actual brush fibres makes the case more evident here - they are just not as sufficient or as deep cleaning as the standard interdental brushes you can often buy at your local dentists. About the only advantage they have is that each tip is coated in a minty formula that you can feel deep into the gums of your mouth. Certainly just after using one interdental tip my gums felt very hot increased by the strength of the rubber interdental tip that left my mouth smelling very fresh for a couple of minutes. Oral B need to reconsider the rubber tip design however as smaller brushes are easier and actually do their job.
At £11-24 it is hard to swallow for a three attachment kit that you can fit onto a number of Oral B rechargeable and battery operated toothbrushes and I'd imagine for some consumers who like to feel really clean, they may well be taken in by this kit like I was. For parents however, it is a good idea to consider if you are trying to teach your child about personal oral maintenance.
Whilst I adore the fact that Oral B have brought out a kit which is ideal for many Braun Oral B owners, the lack of a carry case for all three attachments is a bit stingy especially when the 10 interdental rubberised tips come with a handy travel case and a protective cap. If Oral B can do that with one of their attachment heads then it makes sense to do this with all three. But, at the cost of your own pocket, I think I'll stick to more traditional means, even if there is added vibration from a cordless electric toothbrush, it would be cheaper to buy three of these attachments separately and to ensure a deeper clean without worry where you can see and feel the effects instantly rather than purely placing your trust with a well established name. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2008
Equipped with: a tongue freshener, an interdental cleaner, and an interspace head /