Electric Toothbrush Awareness

The last thing you would expect when you are brushing your teeth, is to have your toothbrush chip your tooth or fly into your eyes or even get stuck in your throat!  Unfortunately for some users, that is exactly what happened when they were brushing their teeth with the battery-operated Arm & Hammer Spinbrush and the Crest Spinbrush.

Consumer Safety Officer at the Food and Drug Administration, Shumaya Ali, said, “It’s important that consumers know how to avoid the risks associated with using the Spinbrush.  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.”

The FDA regulates all toothbrushes, whether they be electric or manual, and feels safety precautions should be taken with all electric toothbrushes.  Even though electric toothbrushes are effective in removing plaque, which helps in preventing both tooth decay and gum disease, a malfunction of the toothbrush can cause an injury.

Injuries that have been reported using the Spinbrush toothbrush include:

  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Cuts to the mouth and gums
  • Swallowing and choking on broken pieces
  • Injury to the face and eyes

The handle of the Spinbrush contains batteries and a motor that operates the brushes, which are attached to the brush head.  In the adult model of the Spinbrush, the brush head is removable and replaceable,  but the brush head is not supposed to pop off during use.  Unfortunately it has, exposing underneath metal pieces that have poked individuals in the cheek and areas near the eyes.

The Spinbrushes for children do not have removable brush heads and contain handle designs in many popular children’s animated characters.  Problems with these brushes have included cut lips, burns from the batteries, and bristles falling out and lodging in a child’s tonsils.

Last year in May, the FDA warned the manufacturer of the Spinbrush, Church & Dwight Co. Inc., of its violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which included failing to report serious injuries within a reasonable time frame.  The company has taken actions to improve the Spinbrush to prevent injuries in both adults and children.  Some of these include: improved labeling to caution consumers to change the brush head every three months; added bristles that change color with wear to give consumers a visual reminder to replace the brush head; issuing a safety notice about Spinbrush in TV and print ads and on the Sprinbrush website; and adding an interactive voice response to consumers who call the company’s toll-free telephone numbers.