Dentists often recommend electric toothbrushes to their patients because of their efficacy at getting your teeth really clean. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), responsible for regulating both manual and electric toothbrushes as a medical device, recently issued a stern safety warning to consumers and dentists about the dangers of the Spinbrush line of battery-powered toothbrushes, currently sold as the Arm & Hammer Spinbrush, and previously sold as the Crest Spinbrush.
Cause for concern
Apparently, numerous consumer complaints that had not been reported to the agency were uncovered last year during the FDA inspection of Church & Dwight Co. Inc., the manufacturer of the Spinbrush line. These complaints included reported injuries, such as chipped or broken teeth; cuts to the mouth and gums; swallowing and choking on broken pieces; and injury to the face and eyes; all as a result of using a Spinbrush toothbrush.
"We've had reports in which parts of the toothbrush broke off during use and were released into the mouth with great speed, causing broken teeth and presenting a choking hazard," wrote Shumaya Ali, M.P.H., an FDA consumer safety officer in the consumer warning. In numerous cases, the brush head, which can be removed to be cleaned or replaced, but should not come off on its own, came off during use, exposing metal parts which injured the mouth and eyes of consumers.
And in case you are using a Spiderman or Thomas & Friends Spinbrush for the little mouth in your family: Know that they are not immune to this warning. While they do not have removable brush heads, injuries from these also been reported --cut lips, burns from the batteries, and bristles falling off and lodging in a child's tonsils.
On May 16, 2011, FDA warned the company of its violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, including failure to report to serious injuries within a reasonable time frame. Church & Dwight Co. Inc., has not issued any recall of a Spinbrush product but has taken some safety labeling actions, noted the FDA in its warning.
What to do
This is not a recall; therefore, you do not need to stop using the Spinbrush if you own one. (Considering that it was a ConsumerSearch Best Reviewed battery powered toothbrush, you may.) Instead, use these recommendations from the FDA when brushing in the future.