When Apple sells a toothbrush in their store I pay attention. It’s not what I would expect to see on my way to the Genius Bar! The toothbrush in question is Colgate Smart Electronic Toothbrush E1 with Artificial Intelligence and surprisingly it retails for $99.95 (the Sonicare, which I have been using for 15 years – and swear by – is nearly double the price). What’s unique about this brush and why it’s sold at Apple is that it connects via Bluetooth to an app on your iPhone. You get pretty useful date including “coaching” to help you track spots you’ve missed, help you monitor how long you’re brushing, help you spot potential problem areas so you can focus on preventing cavities etc. (and the app lets you keep records of everything so you can share the info with your dentist), and there’s even a game option which could be useful to get kids on board with proper brushing. Though I must say, when I was a kid, I had a toothbrush holder that played music and when the song was done so was brushing time… it worked just fine! The data does offer a lot of interest and helpful insight, however, many people (including Bag Snob Tina who first brought this up to me) are worried about Bluetooth connectivity and radiation…is there a link?
“While cell phones have been around for awhile, the rise of wearable technologies such as the Apple Watch and FitBits has lead to increased interest in possible harms caused by these technologies,” says Matthew Mintz, MD. “Most emit electromagnetic energy in the form of radio-frequency (RF), which is technically “radiation” however RF waves, unlike X-rays, do not interact with the chemicals or cells in your body, and should in theory be safe.”
Note he says in theory. The issue is that most research has been done with cell phones. “Two studies were recently published by the government (one in rats, one in mice) that have over 10 years of data, and found that there is essentially no harm for cell phones.” Moreover he notes that Bluetooth head sets were recommended to be used to decrease potential exposure from cellphones causing brain cancer!
“While there is much less information on Bluetooth, Bluetooth has similar or even lower RF than cell phones, and there is currently no studies demonstrating any harm with prolonged use. Thus, use of Bluetooh, even if used close to the head for a limited amount of time, (such as in a Bluetooth toothbrush) is probably very safe. More research is certainly needed, both in regards to cumulative effects over time, and now with increasing use of technology, multiple devices at once, i.e using a cellphone, apple watch, and Bluetooth headphones simultaneously.”
With that, if you find yourself constantly struggling with issues at the dentist, a smart toothbrush seems like a worthwhile and safe option to look into… knowledge is power after-all. But we should all be conscious about how much exposure we’re getting to RF and whether it’s really necessary and pick and choose accordingly.