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Could Your Electric Toothbrush Injure You?


Brushing your teeth  particularly with an electric toothbrush that is said to remove more plaque than manual brushing — is usually seen as a healthy thing to do twice a day. But a new alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns of potential safety concerns, including chipped or broken teeth, cuts to the mouth and gums, swallowing and choking on broken pieces and injury to the face and eyes, when it comes to using specific kinds electric toothbrushes. Ouch!

The particular electric toothbrush the FDA is concerned with is the battery-powered Arm & Hammer Spinbrush — or the Crest Spinbrush, as it was called before 2009. Toothbrushes in the Spinbrush line include: Spinbrush ProClean, Spinbrush ProClean Recharge, Spinbrush Pro Whitening, Spinbrush SONIC, Spinbrush SONIC Recharge, Spinbrush Swirl, Spinbrush Classic Clean, Spinbrush For Kids and Spinbrush Replacement Heads.

“It’s important that consumers know how to avoid the risks associated with using the Spinbrush,” Shumaya Ali, a consumer safety officer at the FDA, says in a release. “We’ve had reports in which parts of the toothbrush broke off during use and were released into the mouth with great speed, causing broken teeth and presenting a choking hazard.”

Dr. Pankaj Singh, founder and CEO of Arch Dental, recommends that his patients use an electric toothbrush, particularly if someone has trouble brushing regularly or is unable to move their arms or hands. 

"There the electric toothbrush really helps, as it doesn't require as much effort on the part of the person using it," Dr. Singh says. "I suspect that these devises are malfunctioning. These products are mass produced and just based on the law of averaging returns, there are bound to be some defective pieces." 
In order to stay safe, the FDA recommends Spinbrush users replace brush heads after three months of use. Also, before using an electric toothbrush, inspect it for any damage or loose brush bristles. If you find any, do not use the brush. In addition, the brush head should be connected tightly to the brush handle, and it's a good idea to test the brush outside of your mouth before using. If the connection feels loose or the brush head easily detaches from the handle, do not use the brush, according to the FDA. 
It's also a good reminder to do your research before buying a product, Dr. Singh says. 
"Like any consumer product, buyer beware," he says. "People should do their research and evaluate the product, using resources like the FDA, National Institutes of Health and reputable consumer advocate publications as a guide, and not weigh what's on sale as much as the quality and reliability."
Do you use an electric toothbrush? Is it a Spinbrush? Tell us about your experience! And safe brushing out there! 


Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites and A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.


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