An AI Told Me Off For Not Brushing My Teeth Properly

According to Oral-B there's a very good chance you're not brushing your teeth properly. Either you're missing bits, or you're being way too forceful with keeping your chompers clean - which makes sense considering we've all been conditioned to apply plenty of elbow grease when we clean other things. So now there are toothbrushes, apps, and artificial intelligences designed to help you improve, and Oral B has both coming later this year.

The idea of a 'smart' toothbrush might seem bizarre to some, but Oral B thinks it's important to help people learn how to brush properly. Frankly I thought I was doing a pretty okay job of keeping my teeth clean, then this damn AI-enabled toothbrush busted that thought and gave me a brushing score of 29 per cent. If this test involved the typical 40 per cent pass rate employed by universities, this would be a fail. A fail that you couldn't try and appeal against in the hopes of earning yourself an extra couple marks.

Part of the app involves a challenge that lets the software sit back and see how you do with your normal bushing routine. After you're done it gives you a score of how well you did and, well, you can see my results up top. According to this app I didn't spend nearly enough time brushing my teeth, didn't cover everything as a result, and applied way too much pressure in the process. Which feels a little unfair, because I'm not that forceful with my toothbrush. Not since I was told off for brushing too hard and not well enough. I blame the pressure of having to stand in a convention hall, by a sink, and using a toothbrush while toothpaste runs down my face.

I have no excuses for not spending enough time on it. That's totally my fault.

But to try and improve my score, I had another go using the on-screen guidance that shows you how well you've brushed each area. Have you ever tried brushing your teeth twice in a row with strong toothpaste? It's not pleasant, and I can still taste the stuff.

As you brush around the app will slowly fill those blue coloured teeth with white, showing that you've spent the appropriate amount of time and effort cleaning your mouth. While being timed, of course, and ensuring that you don't end up being too forceful.

That's all shown in real time, too, while the app counts up towards two minutes. That way you can change tactics immediately, and make sure you're doing everything right. None of this finding out afterwards, then forgetting it all by the next day. And it works too, since my score immediately rose by 51 per cent. Unfortunately I still apparently spent four seconds brushing too forcefully, though I'm blaming that on the fact I had to go pretty far back and scrub at my stupid wisdom teeth.

All of this comes about thanks to Oral B's new 'Genius X' toothbrush, which comes with the AI installed. They claim this single toothbrush knows more about toothbrushing than any person on the planet, though I bet there are plenty of dentists that would dispute this fact.

The goal of the AI is to track and monitor how people are brushing their teeth, and offering personalised feedback to ensure optimal oral health. In other words, it shows you what you're doing wrong so your dentist doesn't have a go at you while they poke and prod at your mouth with those annoying metal instruments.

It also comes with a battery case that charges up the brush in the usual way, but lets you charge it up like you would any other smart device. It also has different brush modes, including one for your tongue, to make sure everyone has what they need.

There's no word on Australian pricing or availability as yet.


This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.

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