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King’s Cross start-up invents toothbrush that is also Bluetooth games controller – to trick kids into brushing better

PUBLISHED: 10:01 30 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:04 30 July 2018

A model poses with the Playbrush. Picture: Playbrush

A model poses with the Playbrush. Picture: Playbrush

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A King’s Cross start-up has invented an interactive toothbrush that has games loaded onto it - and collects data about how clean your mouth is.

The creators of Playbrush, Matthäus Ittner, Paul Varga and Tolulope Ogunsina. Picture: PlaybrushThe creators of Playbrush, Matthäus Ittner, Paul Varga and Tolulope Ogunsina. Picture: Playbrush

The idea is to trick kids into cleaning their teeth properly by making the process fun.

Playbrush, on the Regent’s Canal, wants to change the way young children brush their teeth and help them develop good oral hygiene habits.

It was founded in 2015 by Paul Varga, Matthäus Ittner and Tolulope Ogunsina and also has an office in Vienna. Paul first had the idea for a smart toothbrush while watching his own godson Louis brushing his teeth – or, rather, refusing to.

The Playbrush Smart is a Bluetooth attachment that turns handheld toothbrushes into game controllers, supporting children to brush their teeth longer and better through play, by directing them to brush all around the mouth long enough for effective cleaning.

The creators of Playbrush, Matthäus Ittner, Paul Varga and Tolulope Ogunsina. Picture: PlaybrushThe creators of Playbrush, Matthäus Ittner, Paul Varga and Tolulope Ogunsina. Picture: Playbrush

Children are able to select from six mini-games – all of which teach them how to brush their teeth properly. Parents can also access “brushing stats” to see how well their children are brushing their teeth and be able to show dentists.

Tolulope told the Ham&High: “It’s more natural for kids to play games, so that’s where the idea was born.”

To reach more people the company has also developed the Playbrush Smart Sonic, an electric toothbrush with the technology of the Playbrush Smart built in. The Playbrush Smart Sonic should be launched in September and is available for pre-order.

Tooth decay due to poor brushing habits is one of the most common reasons for children aged five to nine being admitted to hospital. That age range is also Playbrush’s target audience. “That is the age where the habits are being formed and we want to influence behaviour traits to help them form the right habit,” added Tolulope.

“It motivates the children to want to brush better,” Dr Marjan Goodacre said about Playbrush.

The tech start-up is supported by UCL and even appeared on Dragon’s Den, where it was offered funding by four of the dragons.

You can find out more about Playbrush at playbrush.com/en/.

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