Away from the sonic toothbrush towards the round brush head. This is how my experiment, which I have undertaken over the past eight weeks, can be described in one sentence. Because instead of using my usual Philips Sonicare toothbrush, I switched to the Oral-B iO Series 9N as part of a test. And that – so much can be revealed at this point in advance – with surprising results.
Externally, there are two things to emphasize about this electric toothbrush from Braun. Firstly, the rotating brush head with micro-vibrations. On the other hand, the interactive OLED color display on the handpiece of the Oral-B iO 9N. It not only provides information about the selectable cleaning modes, but also about the duration of each cleaning process. In addition, a message should appear on the small screen as soon as you should change the brush head.
A smiley also shows after each cleaning session whether it was thorough enough. If a sad-looking line appears at this point, you should think about a thorough brushing technique. However: In everyday life it has been shown to me that I pay little attention to the small screen. I concentrated much more on the information that is available in the associated Oral-B iO app. But more on that later.
The small OLED display of the Oral-B iO 9N provides a lot of helpful information.
LED ring provides visual information
First of all, I would like to go into another feature that I liked about the Oral-B iO 9N: the intelligent pressure control. An LED ring is installed directly under the brush head in the toothbrush handle. By default, it glows white, but you can also choose blue, turquoise, pink, yellow, or orange in the toothbrush settings. There are five more colors to choose from in the app.
At the beginning of a cleaning process, the small light ring lights up in the color you have selected. If you now put the toothbrush on your teeth with slight pressure, the color changes to green. A clear sign of: everything is okay! But as soon as you put too much pressure on your gums and teeth, the LED ring lights up red. At the same time, if the app is activated, a corresponding message will also appear there. However, unlike Philips Sonicare toothbrushes, there is no haptic feedback in the form of vibration. But: The toothbrush does vibrate when you have sufficiently cleaned a tooth surface area in the mouth and it is time to move on to the next section.
An LED light ring lets you know if you're putting too much pressure on your gums while brushing.
Basically, users of the Oral-B iO 9N have the option of using different tooth brushing modes: seven in total. 1. Daily cleaning (Daily Clean), 2. Sensitive, 3. Super sensitive, 4. Tongue cleaning, 5. Gum protection, 6. Intensive cleaning, 7. Whitening. If you use dental care instructions in the app, i.e. train certain tooth brushing routines, individual modes that have not yet been “learned” may be blocked. This irritated me again and again during my test, because I didn't find any way to (temporarily) unlock the locked modes in the app.
The app: More helpful than expected
My personal highlight with the Oral-B iO 9N is the associated app. It is available for both Android smartphones and iPhones and allows, among other things, a "guided" tooth brushing process. As a user, you will then see a graphic in the app that shows you which of the 16 tooth cleaning surfaces have already been sufficiently cleaned.
Oral-B's iO app clearly presents itself during guided tooth brushing.
After each brushing in Daily Clean mode, the app not only reminds you to think about cleaning your tongue as a secondary priority. The use of dental floss and a mouthwash is also continuously recommended for the best possible oral hygiene. Finally, users are shown a score (optimal: 100) that documents the entire cleaning process, including cleaning time, thoroughness and pressure control. I got a point average of 95 during my two month test. I missed the 100 primarily because the pressure on the gums was often too high.
It should only be mentioned in passing at this point that the results of all tooth brushing sessions are saved in the app. Collecting virtual medals as a reward for certain achievements is also possible here. And of course you can also adjust various settings in the app.
Irritating: In connection with an iPhone, the app started the toothbrush diary a day too early – on a Wednesday instead of a Thursday. An error that also occurs with other users and that cannot be corrected afterwards. In such a case, only a reset to the factory settings and a new setup will help.
Rotating brush head ensures thorough cleaning
In daily use, I noticed two things in particular. On the one hand, I personally feel that the cleaning is thorough. In the past, I often had problems completely cleaning the back molars in the upper jaw in particular. I kept feeling deposits on the rear surfaces. After using the Oral-B iO 9N, I was able to feel a pleasantly smooth tooth surface with my tongue after brushing. A clear sign of thorough cleaning.
The brush heads show fading indicators when it is time to make a change.
By the way, I completed practically every cleaning process using the Oral-B app. Because if I cleaned my teeth without looking at the 3D tooth surface analysis running in the app and working with artificial intelligence, I was shown directly that I surprisingly regularly neglect individual tooth surfaces, almost criminally. I quickly realized that there is more to a thorough cleaning than just moving a toothbrush from left to right and back again. Another finding: a thorough cleaning process takes three minutes instead of just two.
Is there anything I would like to criticize? But yes! Because to my surprise, even today, two months after using it for the first time, I still find myself standing in the bathroom at the sink and thinking: What a mess. Because when I use it, I keep finding that a mix of saliva and toothpaste runs along the toothbrush and on to the leading hand, only to then drip into the sink or even onto the floor. It's not really hygienic. But the truth also includes the realization that this problem has steadily decreased over the past few weeks. Is it because I switched from the Philips brush to the Oral-B brush and my mouth has to get used to it first?
During the first few days after using the Oral-B iO 9N, hand hygiene left a lot to be desired.
Battery life: solid at best
Of course, I also took a closer look at how the Oral-B iO 9 performs in terms of battery life. And it's pretty short. The built-in battery lasts about six days with two daily toothbrushes in "Daily Clean" mode. If you limit the daily tooth brushing routine to one pass, you can get by for almost two weeks with one battery charge.
This doesn't tend to sound bad at all, but you shouldn't forget one thing: If, for example, you also clean your tongue regularly – experts recommend doing this every day to prevent bad breath, for example – the battery life drops significantly again. Tip: As soon as the battery capacity drops below 10 percent, you should charge it. Otherwise, you may not be able to complete another cleaning process as usual.
Oral-B iO 9N charges on the electric charging station.
If you take your Oral-B IO 9N with you on vacation, it is therefore advisable to always have the magnetic charger with you. Incidentally, recharging is quite quick. In our test, we measured an average of 2.25 hours. Practical: The scope of delivery includes a "Power2Go" charging travel case as well as a mini case for two additional brush heads.
Conclusion: simply good
In the test, the Oral-B IO 9N not only turned out to be good in terms of thorough tooth cleaning, but also innovative. Because the possibility of including the smartphone and app in the daily routine of dental care is proving to be extremely informative. However, this has its price. Because this electric premium toothbrush is not cheap. And: With hygiene in the lead, it's also one of those things during cleaning. Nevertheless, the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages.
very clean tooth feeling after each cleaning, even the backs of the back molars are cleaned well7 available tooth brushing modespressure control warns optically if there is too much pressure on the gums extensive range of accessories included in the scope of delivery
moderate hygiene on the handpiece and on the leading hand during cleaning no outstanding battery life toothbrush itself and, above all, replacement brush heads quite expensive
How much does the Oral-B iO 9 cost?
According to the manufacturer's recommended retail price (RRP), the Oral-B iO Series 9 costs just under 400 euros. Oral-B itself is currently offering the toothbrush in white, black and purple via its in-house web shop, but with a two-year guarantee at a significantly reduced price from just under 205 euros. In online specialist shops you can strike at prices from 189 euros. Important: Every buyer has the opportunity to test the toothbrush for 30 days. If you don't like it, you can return it without giving a reason.
Replacement brushes are comparatively expensive. They cost arithmetically at least just under 6.50 euros per piece in the "Ultimate Cleaning" version. At least just under 6 euros per brush head in the “gentle cleaning” version for sensitive teeth has to be paid. The actual unit price depends on the number of units you decide to purchase.
By the way: The Oral-B iO 9 will probably have a successor in autumn of this year. That is when the Oral-B iO 10 should appear.
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I have been using a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush on the recommendation of my dentist. And has been for many years. After testing the Oral-B iO 9, I am certain: I will switch. Not only because of Oral-B's practical app features, but also because I have the feeling that my teeth are even smoother, i.e. even cleaner, after brushing. I'm actually happy to accept the somewhat messy handling.
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