It’s becoming more and more apparent that we live in a connected world, with Bluetooth accessories and mobile apps expanding to cover all aspects of life. So it’s no surprise to discover that even toothbrushes have joined the club. Philips’ Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Toothbrush ($199) takes Philips’ popular premium electric toothbrush, adding Bluetooth connectivity and an iPhone app to improve your dental health with real-time monitoring and coaching to help improve your brushing techniques.
As the suffix implies, Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected brings along all of the features of the company’s Sonicare FlexCare Platinum and adds Bluetooth connectivity to communicate with a companion app that runs on your iPhone. The package includes a single toothbrush unit with two different brush heads, a UV brush head sanitizer and charging station, a travel charger, and deluxe travel case.
Even leaving the connected technology aside, the unit works as an electric toothbrush similar to other advanced Sonicare models, with the same AdaptiveClean brush head that provides more surface contact for better cleaning, and can be set to three different brushing modes — Clean, White, and DeepClean — with three distinct levels of intensity. The new Connected version goes beyond simple Bluetooth connectivity, however, adding Smart Sensor technology that helps to track brushing habits so that they can be fed back to the companion app, allowing monitoring of brushing locations in the mouth, scrubbing and pressure sensors to optimize brushing techniques, and a brush head monitor to remind you when it’s time to replace your brush head. Buttons on the handle allow you to adjust brushing intensity and cleaning mode, and Philips promises up to 19 days of use on a single charge, although the two included base stations make charging your toothbrush regularly almost a given unless you’re doing extensive traveling.
Setting up the Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected is relatively straightforward — once the brush has been fully charged, which takes about 24 hours, it’s ready to use as a standalone electric toothbrush. But for full functionality you’ll need to download the Philips Sonicare app from the App Store. Once loaded, the app will take you through an introductory series of screens to explain all of the toothbrush and app’s features, get you to sign up for a Sonicare account, and take you through a short questionnaire to help identity specific areas where you’d like to improve your oral health. Once that’s done, the app scans for and pairs with the toothbrush automatically — we were quite impressed with how seamless the process was compared to other Bluetooth accessories we’ve looked at.
To brush, just open the app, stick the toothbrush in the area of your mouth indicated, and press the power button on the handle to begin. The app displays a map of a typical mouth, and as you brush it will show you a glowing line to indicate where you’re brushing and teeth will turn from gray to white in that area. A timer in the center will show you how much time has elapsed, and every 20 seconds haptic feedback from the brush and visual feedback from the app prompts you to move onto the next section. After two minutes, the brush shuts off automatically, and if you’ve missed any areas, they’ll be highlighted in yellow in the app and you’ll be given a chance to turn the brush back on and go back and touch up on those spots that you missed. Feedback also appears in the middle of the screen over the timer to let you know if you’re moving too fast or brushing too hard.
Once you’ve finish brushing entirely — including any touch-ups — you’ll be prompted to answer a couple of quick questions to indicate whether you’ve rinsed, flossed, etc. The app records this information in daily progress charts so you can go back and review your brushing, and even share it with your dentist or other oral healthcare provider. You can also use the app to specify focus areas if there are spots in your mouth that need extra attention, keep track of your dental visits, and set goals for fresher breath, whiter teeth, plaque removal, gum health, and more.
If you’re concerned about your oral health, the Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected is a great solution — the price isn’t unreasonable compared to other high-end electric toothbrushes from Philips and other vendors that don’t offer Bluetooth connectivity, and money saved at the dentist by providing more thorough brushing and healthier gums could justify the expense.
Company and Price
Compatibility: iPhone 4S or higher, iPad 3rd Gen or higher running iOS 7 or later