I have to say that my initial expectations for the Oral-B 6500 weren’t high despite the marketing hype that accompanied it’s introduction.
Did I really want to be handling a toothbrush and expensive Smartphone at the same time in a bathroom environment?
Well it turns out my concerns were unfounded, the 6500 SmartSeries is a brilliant electric toothbrush that’s perfectly simple to use with or without the app.
About the App
The Intelligent Bluetooth Technology keeps tabs your progress and provides real time feedback to improve your brushing technique.
The app can be programmed to default to your preferred brushing mode and also adjust the duration of the brushing times.
- you set your own personalised brushing regime to suit your own needs
- your data from brushing is recorded and charted on your mobile
- you can reorder the different modes of brushing your teeth
- you can share your data with your dentist
- the application displays news, weather and oral care tips
If you like the Oral-B 6500 but don’t fancy using the app, don’t use it, the Digital SmartGuide is more practical anyway.
Why would you pay for the app functionality if you don’t use it?
It’s a reasonable question but this model has been very heavily discounted recently, if you use the app then it’s a bonus for you. If you don’t use the app, the 6500 will still delight you with all its other features.
The bathroom proof Smart Guide provides information on where and for how long you should brush via its monochrome LCD display.
When you start the toothbrush, the SmartGuide wirelessly synchronises with the toothbrush to give you real-time visual feedback.
It’s very easy to rush brushing your teeth, two minutes can seem an age when you have a toothbrush stuck in your mouth. The most important element of the Smart Guide is the inclusion of a Quadrant Timer.
The timer plays a vital role in ensuring you not only brush for at least two minutes; but that you also spend an equal amount of time cleaning each section of your teeth.
The LCD above is the 4 rating you get for the standard 2 minutes without applying too much pressure at any time within those two minutes.
Notice all the “quadrants” that make up the smiley face are dark grey, each quadrant changes from a light shade to dark grey when you complete it.
The brush itself also indicates when you have finished each quadrant. The same band that pulses red when brushing too hard, pulses green when completing a 30 second cycle and the brush also emits an audible tone to alert you to change to the next section of your teeth.
Once the two minutes are up (or longer for some cleaning modes) the brush will beep 3 times, but you can continue brushing for longer if you want to.
That’s the beauty of this device; it almost forces you to brush properly.
A simple yet effective feature meant to help promote better brushing habits is the Star Reward System. This consists of five stars that light up one by one as you brush.
The approval-seeking we all apparently crave, takes a new form with this device. Brush for two minutes and you are given a five-star rating. Brush for longer and that happy, smiley face starts to wink at you.
It’s not smiles all the way though, if you are brushing too hard, the smiley face suddenly starts to frown at you. If that’s not enough warning for you to ease off the pressure, the toothbrush also flashes red and reduces the speed of the oscillations.
The display shows the cleaning mode you currently using by way of a visual icon. A different icon displays depending on which brushing mode you are using.
I can imagine the SmartGuide being seen as a bit of a gimmick by many, but it seems to work very effectively for those that use it. Gimmick or not, if it helps to improve our brushing technique, it has to considered a worthwhile addition.
Note: The choice of brushing mode affects when the star ratings and smiley faces appear as some modes require three minute brushing.
When the brush is turned off the display is disconnected from the brush and serves as a nice little digital bathroom clock. I find this surprisingly useful on the many of occasions when I think I might be running late.
As the Smart Guide is independent of the brush itself; it requires two AA batteries. With normal everyday use by one person, the batteries can last well over 6 months. The two batteries come supplied in the box.
The Pro 6500 comes with six cleaning modes. Your toothbrush automatically starts in the Daily Clean mode unless you have reprogrammed the mode via the Bluetooth app.
The cleaning modes are selected by cycling through the modes by pressing the mode button. To return from any mode back to the Daily Clean mode, press and hold the mode button.
The brushing mode is memorised even when the handle is briefly switched off during brushing. When pausing longer than 30 seconds or briefly pressing the mode button the brushing mode resets to the Daily Clean mode.
Daily Clean Mode – This is the typical setting we suggest you use every day, this, along with one of the standard brush heads such as the CrossAction brush head will give a good all round clean, plus it will help you maintain fresh breath by removing food particles from between teeth.
Alternatively you can use this mode with the floss action head for an improved interdental action which reduces the need for regular flossing.
Sensitive Mode – This is best used in combination with a sensitive brush head, it provides one of the most gentle cleans on the market, and is ideal for those who suffer from sensitive teeth or a receding gum line. It sweeps away plaque at a slower speed than the normal mode and the polish is just as good too, it removes plaque without risking harm to your mouth. This is also a great mode for children whose gums are still developing.
Whitening Mode – Removes the build-up of every day stains like red wine and can even tackle those nasty surface stains caused by coffee, dark coloured fizzy drinks or even worse smoking.
Gum Care mode – An exclusive option introduced when the model number reaches 5000, it’s designed to gently massage your gum line by increasing the plaque and bacterial removal from around the base of teeth. The pulsation is more varied and the vibrations break down any build-up therefore allowing it to much more easily swept away by the bristles.
Deep Clean Mode – The ideal selection for a really through deep clean, used in combination with the Dual clean brush head for optimal results for both teeth and gums. Personally I use this mode twice a month with a deep clean toothpaste like the Colgate weekly toothpaste available here.
Tongue Cleaner Mode – The tongue cleaner mode is a new addition to earlier models in the SmartSeries and it’s no gimmick.
Millions of bacteria collect on your tongue, and simply brushing your teeth doesn’t remove those bacteria. Tongue bacteria produce volatile sulphur compounds (VSC), which can cause bad breath.
Not everyone will use all the available modes but having them available is a valuable addition. If you share the brush, the choice of modes becomes even more beneficial.
Triple Action Pressure Control System
One of the tendencies people often have when using an electric toothbrush is excessive brushing, or brushing too hard. Usually a habit picked up from using a manual toothbrush, excessive brushing can not only damage your gums, but over time, it can wear away tooth enamel.
The Pro 6500 incorporates a pressure sensor that detects if you’re brushing too hard. The sensor has three ways of giving you a ticking off.
- Visual – An flashing red light band in the handle gives you a visual signal
- Audible – The noise of the brush head changes as the pulsating action of the brush head stops
- Sensory – The system switches mode to sensitive mode, this reduces the speed of the brushing action, giving you another signal to ease off
Brush Head Compatibility
As with virtually all Oral-B brushes; the 6500 is compatible with all other Oral-B brush heads. The only exceptions are the Pulsonic and Sonic brush heads, but I doubt you can even buy those old style brush heads these days.
You can safely buy any type of Oral-B brush head and it will simply push into place.
This model comes with 4 brush heads as follows:
- 1 CrossAction brush head
- 1 3D white brush head
- 1 FlossAction brush head
- 1 Sensitive brush head
Dentists recommend that you change your brush head every 3 months, when brushing twice a day for two minutes.
The Smart Guide memorises your absolute brushing time, and tells you when you should replace it, to ensure that you are brushing with a brush head that performs at its best.
The brush is compatible with an impressive nine different types of brush heads. This is an important consideration and covers all the options and is especially useful if more than one person uses the brush. Everyone can just swap to the most suitable brush head that fits their individual requirements.
CrossAction – The signature brush head of the range, three groups of sweeping bristles which feel much more like a manual brush
3D White – Additional whitening abilities which gives teeth surfaces a good polish
Floss Action – Provides interdental cleaning reducing the need for regular flossing and prevents the build-up of food particles and plaque
Sensitive Clean – Just the job for those with sensitive teeth or receding gums
Precision Clean – Cleans deeper, and when combined with the deep clean brushing setting will help remove staining
Dual Clean – Ideal for ensuring both your teeth and gums are cleaned properly even in difficult to reach areas of your mouth
Stages for Kids Range – Makes the 6500 the ideal electric toothbrush for kids too
Ortho Care – A special brush head for people with a brace or other dental work
Interspace Head – Made up from three small sets of bristles this head is perfect for cleaning bridges, crowns and fillings.
A nice feature is that a Oral-B toothbrush head comes with a coloured ring that fits on to the base of the replacement brush head. These rings come in a variety of colours allowing you to distinguish between different people’s brush heads if your share your toothbrush handle.
Charging and Battery Life
Before you can use your new brush for the first time; you have to fully charge it. This can take over 12 hours to fully charge; it’s probably best bet is to leave it charging overnight.
Recharging your brush is very simple, all you have to do is simply plug the charging unit into an electrical outlet and place the toothbrush handle on the charging unit.
Note that it comes with a 2 pin charger (as all bathroom small appliances have to do), so make sure you have a 2-pin to 3-pin adapter, or buy one at the same time you get a brush. You may think this is a bit of a rip off, but it’s the same with all bathroom electrical appliances, it’s against regulations to supply the adaptor with the appliance.
The flashing green lights indicate that the toothbrush is charging; when fully charged, the lights turn off.
Don’t concern yourself if the green lights do not flash immediately, continue charging. The lights appear in about 10 to 15 minutes.
When fully charged this brush lasts for up to 10 days with regular use, obviously less if the brush is used by more than one person.
You may find the brush needs recharging more frequently over time. This can be rectified by switching it on and leaving it until the battery is fully depleted. Once there is no sign of life, place it on the charging station and fully recharge it.
It’s recommended you deplete and recharge your brush every six months. By doing that, you should continue to get the 10 days worth of brushing out of a single charge.
When the brush is close to requiring a recharge; you may notice a reduction in the power of the brush head cleaning action. A recharge will get the brush back up to full cleaning power.
If you see a red low-charge indicator when you turn on the brush, it means it’s time for you to re-charge the brush pretty soon. At a pinch you can get away with charging it for 30 minutes to get a one-time, 2 minute clean.
On powering off the brush the battery status indicator stays on for approximately 15 seconds so you can easily see the remaining power in the battery.
Look and Feel
The brush handle has well defined and suitably positioned buttons and clear indicator lights. It feels professional and it looks professional.
It does differ from all earlier models in that each of the buttons illuminate a cool blue colour, rather than green.
The power and mode change buttons are accessibly placed and are raised to make them easy to find even when you have the brush in your mouth. The buttons have a nice tactile feel to them, making the brush very easy to use.
On the front lower third of the 6500 is where the Bluetooth and Wireless SmartGuide communication icons are found along with a 3 stage battery icon. The battery indicator also sticks to the illuminated blue colour, unless the battery is depleted, it then flashes red to let you know it’s time for a recharge.
What’s in the Box
- 1 rechargeable toothbrush handle
- 1 charging station with brush head storage
- 1 CrossAction brush head
- 1 3D white brush head
- 1 FlossAction brush head
- 1 Sensitive brush head
- travel accessory
- wireless SmartGuide with 2 batteries and wall mount
The Two Handle Bonus Pack
Oral-B do offer a white model of the 6500 but only for the more expensive two handle bundle. The price difference is around £30 so it’s not exactly buy one, get one free but it does add up to a pretty good deal.
The more I consider this option the more I think Oral-B missed a trick here by not offering the two handle bundle for the black model.
The mystery of the missing mode – just be aware, the two white handles supplied in this bundle don’t include the tongue cleaning mode.
Beats me why Oral-B would do this, but if tongue cleaning is part of your routine you can always switch to the sensitive mode. Spend just twenty seconds tongue cleaning in sensitive mode and you have perfectly mimicked the missing tongue cleaning mode as the oscillations and pulsations are almost exactly the same.
If you have a particular dental routine and can work with a dentist, then perhaps the Bluetooth connectivity will be important and useful to you. If you love gadgets, again the connectivity aspect may appeal to you.
For many people I suspect the Bluetooth element of this package may be either used only for a short while or not used at all. Using it for a short while is no bad thing, as long as you have perfected your brushing habits.
Overall, this is a very complete solution and it’s an excellent toothbrush to boot. Many have gone on record as saying this is the best electric toothbrush they have ever used.
Until a short while ago it would have been difficult to justify paying the sort of price that was being asked for this brush, but it’s a whole new ball game now its cost has been slashed.
The Oral-B 6500 is a state of the art electric toothbrush and it’s currently available at a knock down price.
Grab yourself a bargain.