“Spinbrush” toothbrushes can injure your mouth, face and chip your teeth — FDA . Parents, beware. The United States Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers to be cautious when using the battery-powered “Spinbrush,” saying it has received reports that parts of the toothbrushes have broken off during use and flown off at high speeds, chipping or breaking teeth, cutting gums, injuring faces and eyes, and presenting a choking hazard.
The agency issued a particular warning to parents of young children, saying the Spinbrush toothbrushes is being marketed to these children but poses risks of serious injuries.
“We are particularly concerned about the problems with these toothbrushes as they appear to be geared towards children,” says Dr. Susan Runner, branch chief for Dental Devices in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in an advisory on Feb. 16.
“The hazards that have been reported are potentially very serious, and parents should be aware of helping young children with tooth brushing both for safety reasons and for assuring adequacy of brushing,” she added.
More than 39 million “Spinbrush” toothbrushes have been sold under various brand names, first under the Crest brand until 2009, then under the Arm & Hammer brand.
The toothbrush comes in both adult and child models — and all can cause injury according to the federal drug regulator.
Replaceable heads in models for adults have reportedly popped off during use, causing facial damage. “In some cases, the brush head popped off to expose metal pieces underneath that can — and have — poked individuals in the cheek and areas near the eyes, causing injuries,” says Shumaya Ali, FDA’s consumer safety officer, in a statement.
While the children’s models don’t have removable heads, injuries reported include cut lips, battery burns and bristles falling off and lodging in tonsils.
If the brush head or handle are loose, the brush shouldn’t be used and consumers should report this to the manufacturer at 1-800-352-3384 or 1-800-561-0752.
For consumers who have a Spinbrush, the FDA advises:
• DO inspect the Spinbrush for any damage or loose brush bristles prior to using. If you notice any damage or loose brush bristles, DON’T USE.
• DO check to be sure that the headpiece is connected properly to the handle of the brush and test your brush outside of the mouth prior to using. If you notice the connection feels loose or the headpiece easily detaches from the handle, DON’T USE.
• DO supervise children and adults who need assistance when using the Spinbrush.
• DON’T bite down on the brush head while brushing.
• DO follow the instructions and recommended replacement guidelines included with the Spinbrush.
• DO know that the brush head for the Kid’s Spinbrush isn’t replaceable. If you notice any damage or loose brush bristles, DON’T USE.
Here’s the full list of products:
1. Spinbrush Pro Clean Soft (6687800078)
2. Spinbrush Pro Clean Medium (6687800079)
3. Spinbrush Pro Clean Replacement Head Soft 2 ct (6687800080)
4. Spinbrush Pro Clean Replacement Head Medium 2 ct (6687800081)
5. Spinbrush Pro Clean 3 ct BJs (6687800145)
6. Spinbrush Pro Clean 2 ct (6687800425)
7. Spinbrush Pro Clean Extra Soft 2 ct (6687800433)
8. Spinbrush Pro Clean Combo Pack (6687800461)
9. Spinbrush Pro Clean Value Pack (6687800466)
10. Spinbrush Pro Clean Soft Value Pack (6687800709)
11. Total Spinbrush Pro Clean
12. Spinbrush Pro Recharge
13. Spinbrush Pro Clean Recharge (6687800160)
14. Total Spinbrush
15. Spinbrush Pro Whitening Soft (6687800191)
16. Spinbrush Pro Whitening Replacement Head Soft 2 ct (6687800192)
17. Spinbrush Pro Whitening Medium (6687800193)
18. Spinbrush Pro Whitening Replacement Head Medium 2 ct (6687800194)
19. Spinbrush Pro Clean Recharge
This is the second time the Spinbrush has caught the FDA’s attention. Last year, the FDA found in a probe that while Church & Dwight Co Inc. had received several consumer complaints about the toothbrushes, it hadn’t reported these to the agency or when it did report the injuries, it left crucial information out.
This prompted the FDA to send a warning letter, and the company responded on Jan. 25 by issuing a “class II recall.”
This didn’t mean that consumers could return the products. Instead, the company issued a TV and print safety notice warning consumers that failing to replace the brush head could lead to injury. The warning included safe-use instructions, and is also found on the company website.
Church & Dwight also changed its labeling to include a warning for users to change the brush head every three months or sooner if the brush is worn or parts are loose. It even added color-changing bristles in the toothbrush that remind users to swap the brush head.
But there’s no need to throw out all battery-operated toothbrushes, the FDA advises consumers, saying these are very effective in removing plaque and preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
The best way to ward off cavities is still to brush teeth twice a day with fluoride, dentists advise. Brush your teeth especially at night, because the mouth produces less saliva when you’re asleep, allowing bacterial to proliferate on teeth and gums.
To prevent the germs from multiplying, dentists also recommend flossing, rinsing with mouthwash after eating, drinking water throughout the day to flush away plaque and bacteria, and avoiding sticky candies. Chewing sugar-free gum can also help by promoting the production of beneficial saliva.
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