Xrush makes brushing fun for kids with "smart toothbrushes"

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Imitating every brushing move by a child, Xrush’s smart gadget uses interactive games to motivate kids to brush their teeth properly 

According to China’s fourth National Oral Health Survey conducted in 2017, 70.9% of five-year-old kids have a tooth cavity.  The survey also said brushing teeth twice a day could lower that percentage significantly to 24.1%. However, many kids hate brushing their teeth. Only 24% of kids at age five brush their teeth twice a day. 

Now, a Chinese startup is stepping up to solve the problem. Xrush has developed a small-sized gadget which can turn any regular toothbrush into a tool for motion-sensing games that encourage kids to brush their teeth correctly and still have fun. 

“It's not easy to make kids brush their teeth thoroughly,” said Zhou Yu, founder of Xrush and also the father of a four-year-old girl, who would brush her teeth only if she was allowed to watch iPad while brushing her teeth. Now, he hopes the smart gadget developed by Xrush would help kids, as it did to his own, to do a mundane, routine job in a fun way.

Brushing games

In the shape of a green Chinese water dragon and dubbed as the Big Mouth Dragon, Xrush's smart gadget looks like a desk toy holding a toothbrush handle. When kids use the connected toothbrush, they will see the Big Mouth Dragon with dirty teeth on the screen of a mobile device such as iPad or smartphone. Each brushing move made to clean the dragon's teeth will help clean their own teeth as well. Xrush said its gadget knows the exact position of the brush with an accuracy of 96%. 

The 22g gadget, which is equipped with built-in sensors and a multi-axis gyroscope, connects to the Xrush app via Bluetooth. Using sensors and algorithms, the Xrush gadget captures data, such as, duration, angle and speed about each brushing move.  Real-time, big data analysis is used to present how well the job was done with gaming and data reports. 

When kids finish the game, they will get a score telling her how well they brushed their teeth. For extra motivation, if kids brush teeth longer than the designated time, usually 2–3 minutes, they could unlock a place in the Big Mouth Dragon’s World Travel Map and get a knowledge card about a city. 

Meanwhile, a report will be automatically generated for parents, letting them know whether the kid brushed long enough and reached all the crucial areas of her teeth and gums. In this way, parents can help their kids improve their toothbrushing habits.

Affordable add-on

Smart toothbrush is not new. In 2014, Grush launched a similar Bluetooth-enabled electric gaming toothbrush for children to help them improve their brushing techniques. However, according to Xrush's founder, “electric toothbrushes are not suitable for young children” and so the company decided to make intelligent hardware for manual toothbrushes.

Xrush targets kids aged 3–7, an age when they should be learning how to brush their teeth properly. The company's interactive games use and promote the Fones technique, the oldest toothbrushing method described by Fones in 1913 and widely recommended for children.

According to Xrush, 90% of the kids using its gadget have improved their brushing habits and brush longer and most of them do it in just two weeks. 

The company also said that its hardware is compatible with 99% of the toothbrushes in the market and, for parents, an Xrush gadget priced at RMB 299 is more affordable than electric toothbrushes and replacement heads.

Xrush is planning to launch other products featuring the image of Big Mouth Dragon to capitalize on  the increasingly high purchasing power of young parents, who are also willing to pay for gadgets that give them peace of mind. According to a recent research report, the market for children’s products is expected to reach RMB 1.5tn in 2025 growing at a CAGR of 9% from 2020. 

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Edited by S. Mani, Wang Xiao'e


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