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Improving everyday experience through gamification.

This is a review of the latest Oral-B toothbrush and how it uses gamification to improve the habit of brushing.

Let's start by examining the history of brushing, it is to note that most of the reference used in this article is from publications by brands in the dental industry.

The recorded history of the toothbrush are in ancient Egyptians, used split ended twigs and Chinese chewed on twigs with a special flavor to freshen their breath. Some of the ancient toothpastes included ingredients like ashes of OX hooves and burned eggshells. Ancient Greeks and Romans used materials such as crushed oyster shells and bones. In ancient India Neem twigs were used as a toothbrush. Rather than brushing the teeth the edges of the twigs where chewed to form bristles that cleaned the teeth. Along with bristles that helped clean the teeth the medicinal benefits of Neem proved to help in oral health. The Neem tree is considered by the people of semi-tropical and tropical region to have healing and illness fighting properties. (Amazon India)

The current form of the toothbrush was made in England in 1770. A man named William Addis came up with the idea while he was in prison. He used small bone from a meal. He put tiny holes in it and used glue to attach pig bristles he had got from a prisons guard.

First patent for toothbrush was awarded to an American named H.N Wadsworth in 1857, but it wasn’t until the invention of nylon in the 1930s that the toothbrushes came to look like the ones you use.

It wasn’t until after world-war 2 that Americans started brushing their teeth regularly. US solders brought the daily habit back home with them from abroad, and that helped make the practice popular. One of the first electric toothbrush hit American market by 1960.

Modern toothpaste was developed in the 1800s, soap and chalk where added. Due to the advancement in synthetic detergents after world war 2 soaps were replaced with emulsifying agents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Ricinoleate. A modern ingredient of toothpaste Fluoride was added initially in 1914, but the American dental association at first criticized its introduction, the later finally consented to the use of fluoride in toothpaste in 1960.

ORAL B i.o

It was a gradual evolution from twigs to motorized toothbrush that we see today. For many people brushing has become a habit that developed during childhood. Today, time is more valuable than ever, and without a constant validation of what Is important and what is not, things could easily get lost in the clutter.

As per the study most of us fall short in the duration we brush our teeth, most of us brush for 45 seconds on average, however, the recommended period is two minutes.

How gamification is used for behavioral design in this context?

As discussed in the beginning gamification is the use of elements of game playing in product or service. In the case of Oral B i.o the product gives instant feedback, rewards and educates the user. This engagement is used to motivate people to brush longer, regular and with intentions.

Here the irregularity and monotonous nature of brushing teeth have been taken away. This is done by :

- Using a timer to let you know the duration you brush

- Using sensors to identify the area of the mouth been brushed

- Using a bruising pressure indicator.

- Rating your brushing techniques and providing a score.

- Tracking your brushing habit and rewarding.

There is a lot of tech embedded in the product that enables the feature and obviously, the product is targeted toward high-income market.

One of the downside in the current model is the usage of the app for live feedback, which many would get tired of soon, as it involves looking at your smartphone while brushing. This could be tackled in the future with the development of IOT enable devices like smart mirrors, used for displaying similar data.

As for the aesthetics this one of the best looking toothbrushes available in the market. It has an organic form, with minimal clutter and color. It’s pretty sleek looking.

Thank you!


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