Reviewed by Deborah Banasko
Brushing teeth in the morning whilst rushing my children, aged 4 and 7, to nursery and school often results in some form of argument, so the Playbrush Toothbrush really appealed to me (available in electric and manual versions – I received the electric version). Anything for an easier life!
Playbrush is a connected toothbrush (smartphone or tablet required, not supplied) that is powered by our educational games for kids. As a parent you can also track your kids brushing statistics for better results.
I did have a little shock when the postman handed me the parcel containing the Playbrush Smart Sonic as it was vibrating! Great that it arrives with some “charge”, but my postie looked a little confused…
Setting up the Playbrush is really simple… the step by step instructions to install the app are foolproof, and there is a colour coded light on the brush to indicate the “charge status” and also to indicate when it is connected to the games.
The brush itself is a little larger than my children’s current electric toothbrushes, but as I still brush their teeth it was easy to handle for me. We normally opt for the small rounder type of brush head, but actually the Playbrush head (despite being larger) still fit nicely into tiny mouths and the bristles were really soft. The heads come off and can be changed also.
My children did comment that the brush itself didn’t look especially exciting, but that became irrelevant once they started brushing.
There are two cleaning modes; the power mode or the sensitive mode.
There were two game options available for age 3 plus, and 6 plus. The remaining 4 games for each age group were locked and required an upgrade.
When games are played the music can be turned on or off, and any rewards achieved can be viewed as well as statistics on how well each area of the mouth has been brushed. For example, a bar chart will compare how well four areas of the mouth were brushed, so that you can educate your child and guide them with their brushing. You can add more than one child onto the app for a bit of competition too!
The Superstars Game required all areas of the mouth to be brushed in order to achieve 4 stars within two minutes – a fab concept to make sure that children brush every tooth and spend long enough doing it. Perhaps not the most exciting game but it gives children something to do and helps to re-enforce the message that they need to open wide in order for me to brush all of their teeth, and to get all of the stars (and beat their sister!). It’s great for getting them to hold still if nothing else!
My son preferred this to the Utoothia painting game, which allowed you to choose a colour of paint for each part of the mouth, and these colours would appear on a picture of a bird the more that you brush until the entire picture has been coloured. The other picture options were locked, and I assume required you to pay in order to access them. This game wasn’t as “quick start” as you had to choose colours, which in the morning rush is a little stressful, and my son became bored of the same bird picture. I can see how paying for more picture options would keep the game fresh, and that is something that I will no doubt look into.
For the 6+ games, Fancy Football was a hit even with my anti-football daughter. With this game, you had to brush the stated area of the mouth in order to score a goal. This is again fantastic in ensuring that every tooth is brushed, but as I am the person brushing the teeth the kids became quite annoyed when I was following my usual brushing routine rather than trying to score a goal. This game is perhaps for children who brush independently.
In Utoothia you were the little knight character and had to shoot at the monsters by brushing the top of your mouth to blast the monsters above, brush to the left to attack monsters to the left and so on. This was a fab game to ensure thorough brushing and to train children to start to brush their own teeth. Again, one for independent brushing!
All games focused on ensuring that the whole mouth was brushed thoroughly, whilst entertaining and educating the kids. I did have some issues with connecting some of the games; the Utoothia game always worked right away, but the others would sometimes show that the connection wasn’t there.
The Playbrush has an RRP of £39.99 (currently selling for £24.99), which for a good toothbrush plus the basic games is a good buy. Extra brush heads and access to all games and statistics cost from £2.92 to £4.33 per month, depending on what no contract subscription you take out (if you want to).
I will use the games with the Playbrush for the bedtime brush and when training the children to brush their own teeth as it’s a great education tool, but when I’m rushing in a morning it would just take up too much time for me.
I would score the Playbrush Smart Sonic electric toothbrush 4 out of 5 stars, as it really isn’t the gimmic that I thought it might be; it really does a good job of demonstrating good brushing and educates children in a way that they can understand. Ideal for the child who can’t keep still, hates brushing their teeth or needs some guidance in covering their entire mouth when brushing.
RRP: £39.99 (currently £24.99) – price correct as of 24 March 2019
For more information or to buy visit www.playbrush.com.