Oral B Pro 5000 Review
For years now, electric toothbrushes have been snapping at the heels of their more popular manual counterparts. Dentists and other health professionals now increasingly recommend them for their superior plaque-eliminating action and mouth coverage. Oscillating brushes are better able to get down into the gaps between the teeth and gums where plaque can thrive.
Many new electric toothbrushes have hit the market over the last ten years, with each new generation adding features to the previous. The Oral-B Pro 5000 is no exception. Braun has invested heavily in creating a device that will provide users with practically all of the tools that they’ll need to keep their mouths healthy and their dentist happy.
While the electronics on an electric toothbrush make mechanical brushing possible, that’s not the only benefit of electrification. Just like smartphones, electric toothbrushes use a combination of software and hardware to offer users features simply unimaginable on a standard brush. These let the user improve their dental hygiene habits and keep their teeth plaque-free for longer. In a sense, we’re getting to the point where your toothbrush can tell you whether you’re brushing correctly or not.
Why invest so much in a toothbrush? The reason is that dental care is expensive. People can wind up spending thousands of dollars per year on dental treatment, especially as they enter their forties and fifties. Many users see their electric toothbrushes as a small investment that can keep plaque at bay now, saving them money in the future.
But is the Oral B Pro 5000 effective? Will it help to keep your teeth free from plaque and carry out your dentist’s instructions? Let’s take a look.
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Review of Oral B 5000 Pro
The Oral-B 5000 might be called a "toothbrush," but you're better off thinking of it as a fully-fledged electronic device, capable of letting you know whether you’re brushing correctly and delivering instructions from your dentist. Toothbrushes seem mundane because of the limitations of manual versions. But products like the Oral-B Pro 5000 prove that looking after your teeth can be just as enjoyable as taking care of your overall health with a Fitbit.
Physical Device Characteristics
Let’s start with the physical features of the device before moving onto the electronics. The device itself is relatively large, measuring more than 7.7 inches long. The reason Oral-B went for this length was to ensure that they had enough space to house both the battery and the electronics while also allowing for a brush head long enough to reach the back teeth.
Oral-B touts the fact that brush heads that come with the 5000 are “CrossAction” - a proprietary term that describes the arrangement of the bristles. Oral B claims that setting the bristles at an angle to each other provides superior cleaning action to using a manual toothbrush, allowing the brush heads to dig into plaque around the gum line, removing it before it turns hard and becomes lodged.
Besides CrossAction, the Oral-B 5000 is also compatible with a range of other heats, such as TriZone, Floss Action and MicroPulse. TriZone bristles are for people who want to brush in the same way as they would a regular toothbrush. Floss Action, as you might imagine, provides a floss-like clean of the gaps between your teeth, and MicroPulse does something similar. With the 5000, you’re free to swap different heads out as you like, just as with any other electric toothbrush.
The battery on the unit is pretty decent, though you probably won’t notice it too much with regular use. If you’re like most people, you’ll just pop it back on its charging stand after use and leave it there until you next need to brush. If, however, you don’t have a suitable socket in your bathroom, then a longer battery life might be welcome. You can use your toothbrush for around sixteen days in a row before having to return it to its platform. (For comparison, the old nickel-metal hydride battery pre-2017 provided only seven days of regular use).
What Do You Get In The Box?
Most electric toothbrushes come with a host of accessories, especially mid-range versions, like the 5000. In the box you’ll find the following:
The Braun Oral-B Smart 5000 toothbrush
A special travel case
Three brush heads, including one CrossAction, one 3D white, and one SensiClean
A smartphone stand
A brush storage compartment
Use instructions and safety information
The brush, therefore, comes with practically everything you need to get going, plus a little bit extra. The smartphone stand is a nice touch for people who want to look at their devices while cleaning their teeth. The range of three different brush heads also helps a great deal, allowing you to experiment with each to see which works best for your teeth.
Of course, while the accessories and physical characteristics of the device are welcome, they’re not what makes the Oral-B 5000 a compelling product. That’s due to the electronics.
The range of smart features on the device is impressive, with each of them geared towards ensuring that you get the best clean possible, according to dentist instructions.
The first feature you’ll notice is the visible pressure sensor light, which tells you whether you’re brushing too hard. During your life, you may have picked up some bad oral hygiene habits, such as pressing the bristles of your manual toothbrush against your teeth and gums too hard. Dentists don’t like this because it can slowly wear down the protective enamel on the surface of your teeth, revealing the soft, yellow dentin beneath. Having a toothbrush that uses an LED light to warn you if you apply too much pressure, therefore, is extremely helpful. It teaches you that you don’t always have to press hard to ensure a thorough clean.
The Oral-B 5000 offers five cleaning modes depending on your oral health needs and goals. These modes are “daily clean,” “sensitive,” “gum care,” “whitening,” and “pro-clean.” Each style is pretty self-explanatory. Daily clean is the default and the one that most people will want to choose. It pairs well with the CrossAction head. Sensitive clean reduces the threshold for the pressure sensor and also slows the head slightly to reduce abrasion. Gum care is a special mode designed to scoop plaque out of the gaps between the gums and teeth. It’s also ideal for people who have sensitive gums that bleed easily. Whitening, as you might imagine, increases the intensity of the brushing action, helping to amplify the effect of your whitening toothpaste. And Pro-Clean is a proprietary mode for people who need to pay extra special attention to their teeth.
Because the Oral-B 5000 has Bluetooth technology, you can also connect to an app on your smartphone. The purpose of the app is to bring digital technology to bear on the issue of keeping your mouth clean, combining data from your brushing habits with recommendations from your dentist.
You start the app as you would any other by clicking the icon on your phone screen. Once you’re inside, you’ll see a page with a graphic of a set of teeth and an option to tell the app when you start brushing. After switching on the Oral-B 5000 device, you start the timer on the app and then follow the onscreen instructions. The app shows various zones of the mouth, segmenting upper left from upper right from lower left and so on, and shows you how long you need to brush each section, depending on your choice of program. So, for instance, the instructions for daily clean are different from, say “whitening.” As mentioned above, Oral-B provides a phone stand you can place in your bathroom, negating the need to hold your phone at any point.
Dentists love this concept. Research suggests that people who use traditional manual brushes usually do so for less than a minute, often believing that they have spent longer cleaning their teeth than they have. This new app idea from Oral-B, however, puts brushing of teeth on a timer, leaving the user in no doubt how long they need to brush, and where. Research from Braun suggests that when people use the app, they consistently clean for more than the two minutes recommended by oral health professionals.
The apps also feature a host of what you might call “quality of life” features. Below the timer and cleaning instructions, you’ll find a content tray with the latest weather and news, as well as reminders for things like upcoming meetings. Just scroll down, and the app will automatically display both the cleaning instructions/timer and other information on the screen. Clearly, Oral-B wants to keep you entertained during those long two minutes of brushing.
Of course, no smartphone app would be complete without reminders, and the Oral-B 5000 companion app is full of them. For instance, if it has been a long time since your last dentist appointment, it’ll remind you to book one. It’ll also tell you when you need to do things like flossing and tongue cleaning - oral hygiene activities that many people skip. Finally, if you get stuck, the app will display tips for how to perform specific oral hygiene techniques, such as flossing correctly or using the correct brush head for your needs.
At the end of each cleaning session, the app shows you a summary of all your hard work. You can see how long you brushed for, the duration for which you applied too much pressure, whether you flossed, rinsed, or cleaned your tongue, and how much brushing you have left to do for today. You can then compare the day’s results to those of the rest of the week or month, tracking your oral hygiene over time. The app will automatically generate graphs, showing you, for instance, the average length of your cleaning sessions and when your next appointment with the dentist is.
While taking advantage of all the features of the Oral-B 5000 takes a little effort, the company has tried to find ways to reward people who clean their teeth properly. Like many video games, it offers achievement badges for various oral hygiene milestones, such as brushing your teeth twice per day for two minutes for two weeks straight, keeping you motivated.
The final, and perhaps most impressive, feature of the app is the ability for dental professionals to program it specifically for an individual patient, showing them where they should brush and how they should focus. Thus, when you choose this product, you can get remote professional guidance and share all your cleaning data with them.
If you don’t have your phone with you while you brush your teeth, don’t worry. The unit remembers all your brushing sessions and simply uploads them to the app when you establish a new Bluetooth connection with your device.
Let’s summarize some of the pros of the Oral-B 5000 electric toothbrush:
It’s not all good news, though. Here are some of the cons of this electric toothbrush
How Does It Work?
If you open up the Oral-B 5000, you’ll find a set of essential components inside that make the whole thing work. Understanding how they all link together is a challenge.
The toothbrush housing contains an electric motor that uses energy from the battery to spin. When you switch the Oral-B 5000 on, electricity from the battery flows into the motor, activating the magnet and causing it to rotate, usually at high speed.
If you look at the head of an electric brush, however, you’ll see that it doesn’t whirr around like a wheel. Instead, it moves backward and forwards in a semi-rotation pattern. The engineering challenge for electric toothbrushes, therefore, is to convert the rotary motion of the motor into oscillating action of the brush head.
Braun, along with other electric toothbrush manufacturers, uses a very ingenious set of miniaturized cogs and cams to make this happen. As the motor spins, the mechanism converts the rotary output of the motor into a series of back-and-forth motions that then drive a piston, which connects to the brush head. As the piston vibrates, it pushes up and down on the brush head, making it rotate clockwise, then counterclockwise, and then back again.
The basic electronics of electric toothbrushes are incredibly simple. The on/off button on the external casing is just a circuit-breaker. When you complete the circuit, the battery delivers energy to the motor, and the whole unit suddenly comes to life.
In general, batteries and motors don’t mix well with water, but the Oral-B 5000 has a solution to this too. All of the unit’s electronics are encased in a thick, rubber membrane, which prevents moisture from penetrating the internals of the device. The most problematic area for engineers is the part of the machine where the head meets the hand unit at the piston. Oral B gets around this by using a series of valves that encircle the ram, stopping water in its track, even when you fully submerge the device in water.
Of course, the Oral-B 5000 is much more sophisticated than a basic electric toothbrush. While it operates on the same principles, it houses a range of additional components that Braun hopes will make it a more compelling product. The most important among these is, undoubtedly, the Bluetooth transmitter than allows the toothbrush to communicate information to a tethered smartphone app. Oral-B’s 5000 device also contains memory and circuit boards that will enable it to deliver different modes and accept instructions from the companion app.
Eventually, all toothbrushes need recharging, and the Oral-B 5000 is no exception. Fortunately, the device comes with an exceptional lithium-ion battery that will survive many cycles before needing replacement. Because you only need to charge your toothbrush every couple of weeks or so, it should last a lot longer than equivalent mobile phone batteries, serving you well for perhaps a decade.
In this post, we’ve learned an enormous amount about the Oral B Pro 5000 electric toothbrush, including its various cleaning modes, accessories, and app features. But who is it really for? And why would you buy it?
Braun would like you to believe that this is a toothbrush for everyone, thanks to the fact that the handy companion app increases both the duration and quality of brushing. But in our view, that’s not entirely true. This brush isn’t a necessity for everyone. Instead, it is for people who struggle to regulate how long they brush or remember which parts of their mouth they’ve cleaned - and which they haven’t. For those who don’t pay much attention to their oral hygiene routine (or those that just don’t want to), the reminders to floss, swish, and clean your tongue are welcome.
The build quality of this brush is in no doubt. Braun perfected the design many years ago, and the Oral B Pro 5000 is simply an iteration on that successful formula.
The most impressive thing about this device - and the main reason for buying it - is the fact that it allows you to receive brushing instructions from your dentist, unique to your needs. Your dentist can inspect your mouth, identify problems, and then program the app to show you what brushing mode is optimal for your needs. Thus, it helps bring down the cost of personalized dentistry while adapting brushing sessions to individual needs.
For those who have a habit of brushing too hard, the Oral B Pro 5000 is a godsend. Both the LED light on the device and the app tell you if you apply too much pressure in real-time, allowing you to adjust your technique without damaging your teeth or wearing them down.
So what’s the verdict? There’s no doubt that this is an impressive product from Braun. If you want to get the most out of the product and you currently use a manual toothbrush, you’ll have to make some small changes to your routine. But aside from that, it is hard not to recommend this product.