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29 Aug 2015

Is Oral B Pro 6000 'smart' toothbrush worth buying?

Our verdict on world's first smart toothbrush

The Oral B Pro 6000 connects with your smartphone for 'real-time' brushing updates. But is this useful?

Oral B has launched the 'world's first connected toothbrush' - an electric toothbrush which uses Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone, so you can monitor your brushing habits. But do you really need a smart toothbrush to get a better clean?

There are two Smart Series models available - the Pro 6000 and Pro 6500. They are identical except that the Pro 6500 has an additional 'tongue cleaning' mode. With a recommended price of £230 and £250 respectively, its worth knowing if splashing out on a hi-tech brush is going to pay off.

To find out if they're worth the investment, we've rated these electric toothbrushes for how well they remove plaque compared to other models, and tried out the smartphone app for ourselves.

Get our full test lab verdict in ourOral B Pro 6000 Smart Series review.

How the Oral B app works

Both the Oral B Pro 6000 and 6500 Smart Series models have Bluetooth connectivity. This allows the brush to beam data about your brushing habits to your smartphone via the Oral B app (free on Android and iOS).

The app picks up a signal when you start brushing and times you, providing feedback and encouragement on your progress. It also shows a record of your brushing over time, so that you can show your dentist that you've clocked two minutes twice a day over a month, for example.

The brush has a built-in pressure sensor, and the app uses this to warn you if you are brushing too aggressively.

You can create customised routines such as adding extra time for problem areas, or setting reminders to floss. Any extra cleaning time you add is picked up by the brush and it vibrates at set intervals to help you keep track. The app can also prompt you to replace your brush head or see your dentist.

The app also displays general dental tips, news and weather alerts, and trivia, to keep you occupied while brushing.

The Oral B Smart Series models come with a range of extras, including a handy SmartGuide

Oral B Pro 6000: the Which? verdict

Our researcher tried the Pro 6000 toothbrush with the Oral B app at home for a few weeks, and wasn't convinced that the app was really worth the effort.

The most useful features - real-time guidance that tells you when to move on to the next section of your mouth during brushing, and if you are using too much pressure - are already provided more effectively elsewhere. The brush itself alerts you when you've brushed for 30 seconds or if you use too much pressure, and the SmartGuide (a small wirelessly connected display unit) shows how long you've been brushing for, what setting you are using, and rates each brushing session. It's also waterproof, so you don't have to worry about knocking it into the sink.

The aggregated data showing brushing over time might be useful if you have ongoing dental issues, but it really only shows if you've reached your time goals or used too much pressure. We found the SmartGuide more useful overall, which is also included with the cheaper Oral B Pro 5000.

If you're keen to go smart with your brushing regime, its worth shopping around as we've seen both the Pro 6000 and 6500 on offer for less than half price.

Are expensive electric toothbrushes any good?

Electric toothbrushes can cost anything from £10 to more £200. Pricier models usually have specialised brushing modes, extra brush heads, and fancy features, but they aren't always better at removing plaque.

If you want to make sure you hit the two minute mark when cleaning, even the cheapest models usually have an audible alert to guide you. To see if you could get a decent brush for less, head over to our electric toothbrush reviews.

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