February 17, 2012
FDA Issues Consumer Alert For Spinning Toothbrushes
A consumer alert for a brand of electronic toothbrush found to chip teeth, cut gums and wreak havoc on your face was announced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday.
The toothbrush in question: Arm & Hammer and Crest (pre-2009) Spinbrush. Injuries have been reported to the teeth, gums and eyes because of the toothbrush breaking. There also has been cases of choking due to broken pieces.
An FDA consumer safety officer said reports indicate that parts of the toothbrush have broken off during use, causing them to be “released into the mouth with great speed, causing broken teeth and presenting a choking hazard.”
The FDA said the safety alert is issued on the following Spinbrush models: Spinbrush ProClean, Spinbrush ProClean Recharge, Spinbrush Pro Whitening, Spinbrush SONIC Recharge, Spinbrush Swirl, Spinbrush Classic Clean, and Spinbrush for Kids.
Spinbrush models for adults have a removable brush head for easy replacement. However, it is possible for the brush head to pop off during use, exposing metal pieces that can cause mouth and facial damage. The kids model does not have a removable head, however, it has also caused problems, including cut lips, burns from the batteries, and brush bristles that have fallen off and lodged in a child´s tonsils.
Dr. Susan Runner, branch chief for Dental Devices in the FDA´s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said: “The hazards that have been reported are potentially very serious, and parents should be aware of helping young children with tooth brushing both for safety reasons and for assuring adequacy of brushing.”
The FDA last year issued a warning to Church & Dwight Co. Inc., maker of the Spinbrush, when it found numerous consumer complaints about the product. The complaints had not been reported to the agency, as required.
Following the FDA warning, the manufacturer made improvements to the product, adding labels to caution consumers about changing the brush head every three months; adding bristles that changed color to help remind consumers to change the brush heads; and issued a safety notice in TV and print ads warning of the dangers of not replacing the brush heads after three months´ use or when they become damaged or loose.
The new safety alert by the FDA advises parents, caregivers and consumers to inspect their Spinbrush before each use to make sure the brush head is connected tightly to the handle. If the brush head or bristles are loose or damaged, the FDA says the toothbrush should not be used and the issue should be reported to Church & Dwight Co. at 1-800-352-3384 or 1-800-561-0752.
The FDA is also cautioning Spinbrush users to never bite down on the brush head while using brushing and to follow all instructions and guidelines for the product. It also recommends anyone suffering an injury from the product to contact the FDA´s Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program by calling 1-800-332-1088 or at www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch.
Image 2: Two models of the Spinbrush are shown here. To help prevent injury, inspect the Spinbrush for damage or loose bristles before each use, and always supervise children and adults who may need assistance when using it.
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