The Oral-B SmartSeries 5000 is a high-end model with the bells and whistles to prove it. Its five cleaning modes are similar to those of its Sonicare competitor, the Sonicare Flexcare R910, but fans of Oral-B’s characteristic oscillating brush heads will find they — and the SmartGuide, a quirky external display to track your brushing time — make all the difference.
Introducing the Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 5000
- The basics
If you’re familiar with Oral-B brushes, this stuff is old news, but if you’re coming at this as a former Sonicare user here’s the basics of how an Oral-B brush works:
- brush pulses to break up plaque
- oscillates and rotates to sweep plaque away
- claims 50% more brush movements than leading sonic technology
- 40,000 pulsating movements per minute
- 8,800 oscillations per minute
- superior plaque removal when compared to a regular toothbrush
If you’re used to the steady buzz of a Sonicare brush, the Oral-B brings a lot more activity to the table.
- Daily Clean, Deep Clean, Sensitive, Massage and Polish
Like the Sonicare Flexcare R910, the SmartSeries 5000 has five different brushing modes. The first and most popular of these is “Daily Clean,” two minutes of brushing broken into 30 second quadrants to ensure you’re able to give every nook and cranny of your mouth equal care. “Deep Clean” runs a little longer, clocking in at three minutes in 45 second intervals, to allow those that need it extra time. For a lot of users, the list could end there, but the SmartSeries 5000 allows for extra customization. The “Sensitive” setting runs at a lower speed to accommodate sensitive teeth, while “Massage,” somewhat unsurprisingly, uses its pulsing speed to massage the gums. And yes, if you’re keeping track at home, the Flexcare R910 does have equivalents to each of these settings, but there’s one exception: instead of wasting a slot on “GoCare,” a one minute brushing session for people in a hurry, the SmartSeries 5000 includes the whitening mode “Polish.” Intended for use with the ProWhite Brush Head, Oral-B describes the setting as “alternating speeds for a polishing effect”).
If you’re on your third cup of coffee and feeling self-conscious, it’s worth a look.
- Wireless SmartGuide
The Wireless SmartGuide is the extra flourish that sets this toothbrush apart, both from lower-end Oral-B models and from its Sonicare competitors. Oral-B likes to refer to the SmartGuide, an external display in direct radio communication with your toothbrush, as “a dentist in your bathroom.” It times your brushing sessions (two minutes or three minutes, depending on your brushing mode) and walks you through the mouth’s four quadrants to ensure you’ve given every tooth the attention it deserves. It cheerily displays the setting you’re using, blinks angrily when you’re brushing too hard, and acts as a clock when not in use. If most of those features sounds familiar, it’s because your brush handle ells you the same thing. It times your sessions, stutters to indicate a quadrant shift, and stops working altogether when you’re brushing too hard. Still, that doesn’t make the SmartGuide redundant, necessarily. Some people love it. Other people use it as a clock.
- So many brush heads. So many.
Compared to Sonicare, the number of brush heads Oral-B has made available for this product line is staggering. The Oral-B SmartSeries 5000 is compatible with
If your starter head isn’t your style, Oral-B has your back.
- The battery
The SmartSeries 5000 uses a nickel-metal hydride battery. To ensure that your battery is able to hold its charge, let it run down until it’s fully depleted at least once every six months. When working properly, it should last up to 10 days between charges.
Stuff to consider…
- Keep your receipts.
If you’ve read other product reviews on this site, you’ve probably heard this before: the more expensive your brush, the more important it is to keep your receipts. Oral-B offers a 60-day money back guarantee for those with buyer’s remorse, but it also provides a two-year limited warranty for replacement and repair should anything go wrong. Given the difficulty some users have had with failing batteries, it’s always safest to have a fallback plan.
- You can’t replace the battery (without voiding the warranty)
There has been a lot of confusion about whether or not the battery in this unit is replaceable. The short answer is that it’s not, at least not without DIY electrical surgery that will void your warranty. Yes, the product manual walks you through the steps necessary to remove the battery (it’s a simple procedure, actually), but that’s to allow you to dispose of your toothbrush in an environmentally safe manner. Removing the battery breaks the toothbrush and voids your warranty. Tread with caution.
- You’re going to need a voltage converter.
Unlike its predecessors, the Oral-B’s charger is rated 110-130v AC 50/60hz. If you’re travelling (or even worse, living) abroad, you are going to need a voltage converter. There’s also a Dual Voltage Charger available from Oral-B, but it’s sold separately.
- Have a pacemaker? Pick a different brush.
The SmartSeries 5000 uses radio waves to communicate with the Wireless SmartGuide, which creates a risk of interference with pacemakers. Oral-B’s official recommendation is that users with pacemakers always keep the brush more than six inches away from the pacemaker during use. If that sounds like too much of a hassle, the SmartSeries 4000 is virtually the same brush, just without those pesky radio waves.
- Taking a plane? Turn off the radio transmitter.
Here’s something that probably didn’t occur to you: because SmartSeries 5000 transmits radio waves, it has to be set to ‘airplane mode’ like the rest of your electronics. If you’re travelling, the product manual will walk you through the process.
What does everyone else think?
As of current writing, the Oral-B SmartSeries 5000’s customer rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com.
The SmartSeries 5000 is a solid brush that offers users a lot of options, but it leans hard on the gimmicks. If you like the Oral-B cleaning model and you’ll actually use the extra features, it’s worth the money. For everyone else, a cheaper Oral-B model might be a better fit. If you want a similar brush but without the oscillating brush head, the Sonicare FlexCare R910 has you covered.
Obligatory note on packaging
If you do decide to buy this product on Amazon.com it’s important to understand what “Amazon Frustration-Free” packaging means. You will receive your Oral-B in a cardboard Amazon box, with none of the original packaging. This makes it considerably easier to open (and recyclable), but much harder to wrap. If you’re buying this toothbrush as a gift, be sure to select the “Retail” option instead.