FDA: Electric Toothbrush May Cause Chipped Teeth and Choking
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety warning about Spinbrushes from Arm & Hammer and Crest (which sold them before 2009), including those designed for kids.
The FDA says parts have broken off while consumers were brushing their teeth, causing chipped teeth, cuts to the mouth and gums, swallowing and choking on broken pieces, and face and eye injuries.
The warning applies to these models of Spinbrush:
- Spinbrush ProClean
- Spinbrush ProClean Recharge
- Spinbrush Pro Whitening
- Spinbrush SONIC
- Spinbrush SONIC Recharge
- Spinbrush Swirl
- Spinbrush Classic Clean
- Spinbrush For Kids
- Spinbrush Replacement Heads
The child model features characters like Thomas & Friends on the handle. The brush head on this version is not removable, as it is on adult models, but "[n]onetheless, problems with the Spinbrush for Kids have ... been reported, such as cut lips, burns from the batteries, and bristles falling off and lodging in a child's tonsils," the FDA explains.
Last year the FDA inspected the company that makes the Spinbrush, Church & Dwight Co. Inc., and "uncovered evidence that there had been numerous consumer complaints that had not been reported to the agency." The FDA issued a warning to the company, which has since included color-changing bristles so users remember to change the brush head, altered labeling to warn consumers to change the brush every three months, and incorporated warnings in its advertising.
To reduce the risk of injury to Spinbrush users, the FDA recommends:
- Supervising children or adults who need help when they use a Spinbrush.
- Inspecting the Spinbrush before each use for damage, including loose or broken bristles. If you see any, don't use the brush.
- Checking that the brush head is tightly connected to the brush handle before each use. If it feels lose or detaches, don't use the brush.
- Following recommended replacement guidelines.
- That you avoid biting down on the brush head while brushing teeth.
If you're injured by a Spinbrush or experience problems with one, you can report it to the FDA online at www.fda.gov/MedWatch or by calling 1-800-332-1088.
Image: Spinbrush via U.S. Food and Drug Administration.