Technology

Philips Sonicare Kids Electric Toothbrush Review: A Toothbrush App Defeating Bad Guys

Rating:
8/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $26

Hannah Stryker / Review Geek

Twice a day my 5-year-old son wages a two-minute battle against the darkest of evils deceptively hidden between the plaque of his pearly whites. A single toothbrush changed the way we parent our son’s toothbrushing routine.

The Philips Sonicare Kids Electric Toothbrush is the evolutionary advancement of their line of kid’s electronic toothbrushes. It looks gimmicky and as a parent, I will spend the right amount of money on my son to make sure he is safe and cared for. But this price tag would be outside of my normal run to the store and grab your son a toothbrush budget. But, then the dentist recommended it after finding issues with his teeth.

Here’s What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • Almost flawless app integration
  • Kids profile in the app is user-friendly

And What We Don’t

  • Bluetooth connection can be sluggish
  • Parents’ dashboard can be clunky

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Parents of a 5-year-old

Someone attaching a fun sticker to a toothbrush
Hannah Stryker / Review Geek

My wife and I both have had issues with oral care. In fact, we just dropped about $1,000 on oral surgery for my wife days ago because of multiple cavities and a molar’s root wrapped around her wisdom tooth; despite this, she is a fan of the dentist. On the other hand, I loathe the dentist’s office; the memory of the sound of the drill in your mouth still sends shivers down my spine. But knowing our struggles, we wanted to ensure our son had a healthy tooth care routine, so we have worked hard to help him establish a healthy habit, and at times it felt like we were toiling in vain, sometimes having to chase down our son and having to play an unfortunately timed game of hide and seek.

Then our dentist told us to get the video game toothbrush, and our lives changed. I have asked my son what is his favorite thing about brushing his teeth now; his response was the game of beating the bad guys. Philips has taken a two-minute animated video, narrated it, illustrating when, where, and how to brush your teeth in their pattern, and sold my kid that he is fighting bad guys in his mouth every time he brushes, and it’s brilliant.

Then, not only does he find affirmation in the job well done and the congratulations of the narrator he has a little sparkle avatar that greets him before and after he brushes. When my son does such a great job of brushing his teeth for two minutes, his sparkle buddy gets a present that my son is ecstatic about. A fake digital present for his fake, fluffy digital tooth-brushing coach that gets a sprig of broccoli. But, he will have to present this digital treat to said furball tooth trainer later in the day because as everyone knows, you shouldn’t eat after brushing.

But Philips did not stop there in the great success of their app; we discovered that you can play with your fuzzball tooth-brushing life coach and even record what you want it to say! Then my son can play this shrill sound on repeat again, and again, and again.

As a parent, there are nuances that you might find annoying, but as a dad, I sat and stared at my son brushing his teeth a few days ago, and he took care to meticulously follow the pattern he had been coached to mimic. Knowing overall health is connected to oral health, I will shoulder my annoyance for my sons’ health.

Tech Marriage to Kids Oral Care

A toothbrush held up to an app showing a mouth open
Hannah Stryker / Review Geek

Philips claims its Sonicare Kids Electric Toothbrush is 75% more effective than a manual toothbrush. This feels like marketing statistics and it is but our family’s experience probably favors this stat. And then you add that Philips connects their toothbrush to your cellphone or tablet with Bluetooth and an interactive app that hooks your kids with digital incentives for your kid’s new furry friend Sparkly.

The app Philips designed is a process of imitation, the personal brushing coach starts in the moments of launching the app, waking up Sparkly, and then begins to instruct the initial steps of brushing. The app sinks to the toothbrush while the coach switches into demonstration mode, as your child brushes their mouth they watch as their furry avatar’s mouth is scrubbed clean. Then there are rewards, from new colors for your tooth brushing coach/pet to hats, to goofy ears and then all the food they’d like to eat.

On the parent’s side, there are metrics that help you understand how successful this program pairing can be. The toothbrush and app record how many days, morning, and night times your child brushes their teeth. For your child, they get a reward; for you, you see the time spent brushing and the streak of daily success recorded.

Tooth Brushing Addiction

An electric toothbrush plugged into the wall on a base
Hannah Stryker / Review Geek

The experience of the game and coach has been shifting into a more established habit. We have watched as this good addiction to a video game has shifted into a great habit, it is recommended that people brush two times a day for two minutes. We have transitioned from chasing down our son trying to convince him to brush his teeth to surrendering our phone for four minutes a day. This is a pleasant shift in our family habits.

When there is a five-year-old reminding you that he needs to brush his teeth, battle the bad guys, and keep his teeth clean you can start to see the habit pleasantly take shape and you may be winning a little as a parent. My son just crossed 60 days of using this toothbrush, and he naturally shifted to use without the app being a mainstay, trusting when we have the chance we can link the brush to the app and register his usage and get the rewards he is earning. There is a future outside our dependency on his Sonicare Kids Toothbrush but it feels like it may be in the distance at this point.

Slow and Steady Beats the Bad Guys

A toothbrush next to a phone with a purple fuzzy character
Hannah Stryker / Review Geek

The lightweight design of the toothbrush makes it fairly easy for my son to hold, there may be children younger that may not be able to hold the battery side of the toothbrush which is the unbalanced end opposite of the brushing end. The grip is designed to be used with ease by the parent or the child which makes the practice manageable no matter the age of your child.

The toothbrush comes with two brushing speeds. This helps the coaching process, where the traditional pattern of brushing one’s teeth is done by moving in rapped movements up and down or forwards and backward.  Philips teaches children to allow the brush to do the work while placing a small amount of pressure against the teeth.  All this is simply illustrated in the presentation of the animation shown while the kids are brushing their teeth.

After awkwardly staring at my son while he brushed his teeth for days, there are a few realizations I have come to. Can a parent use any other toothbrush to establish good oral health habits with their child? Of course, but for us, the last three years have been a struggle in establishing his habit. But 60 days we are seeing him take on responsibility for his own health. Is the app a necessary constant for the toothbrushing habit to form? I don’t believe so. I even would argue over the past 10 to 15 days we have seen our son ween off dependency on the app. Is this toothbrush worth the price? Absolutely, my son has progressed more in the past 60 days towards toothbrushing independence than in the past three years of us working towards establishing a two-time-a-day habit.

Here’s What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • Almost flawless app integration
  • Kids profile in the app is user-friendly

And What We Don’t

  • Bluetooth connection can be sluggish
  • Parents’ dashboard can be clunky



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