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FDA warns Spinbrush toothbrushes can cause serious injuries

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Federal regulators are warning that consumers who use Spinbrush toothbrushes can suffer injury or choking hazard if the head of the toothbrush breaks apart during use.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent out an alert today telling consumers, parents, caregivers and dental care professionals that the agency is aware of serious injuries and potential hazards that can occur with use of the Spinbrush, a battery operated toothbrush in which part of the brush head spins during use. Adult models of the Spinbrush have a removable head, while the children’s version does not.

“FDA’s concern is that the unexpected release of any part of this battery-powered toothbrush during use poses a risk of injury,” said Steven Silverman, director of the Office of Compliance in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health in a consumer update. “And the risk is higher in children or adults who may need assistance but are not supervised while using the toothbrush.”

Consumer complaints about the Spinbrush show that the brush head can break or pop off in the mouth or near the face during use, resulting in chipped or broken teeth, cuts to the gums and mouth, injury to the face and eyes, and choking on broken pieces.

There are reports that children suffered burns from the batteries, cut lips and bristles falling out and lodging in a child’s tonsils related to use of this product.

FDA is alerting the public about the potential for injury while using the following models of Spinbrush:

  • Spinbrush ProClean
  • Spinbrush ProClean Recharge
  • Spinbrush Pro Whitening
  • Spinbrush SONIC
  • Spinbrush SONIC Recharge
  • Spinbrush Swirl
  • Spinbrush Classic Clean
  • Spinbrush For Kids
  • Spinbrush Replacement Heads

The labeling on these products says Arm & Hammer Spinbrush, but before 2009 these products where branded as Crest Spinbrush.

Spinbrush manufacturer Church & Dwight Co., of Princeton, NJ, has known that Spinbrush products were malfunctioning since at least the early part of 2011. The FDA sent the manufacturer a warning letter in May 2011 about the company’s failure to adequately investigate complaints, and lax reporting to the FDA of consumer complaints, regarding product malfunction of Spinbrushes and Trojan condoms.

The manufacturer states that injuries caused by Spinbrush malfunction are the result of excessive wear or abuse of the toothbrush. On December 22, 2011, the company introduced new color-wear bristles to remind users to change their brush heads every three months. Product packaging for the Spinbrush was also updated with safety language reminding users to change the brush head and inspect for loose parts before use.

Spinbrush products are still on the market. On January 25, 2012, Church & Dwight Co. issued a recall of certain Spinbrush models only to advertise the need for brush head replacement and safety issues, but consumers are not required to return the product.

“There have been a small number of adverse event reports involving minor injury such as a chipped tooth, which we have shared with the FDA, but it is important to consider the relatively low incidence of these adverse event reports,” Church & Dwight Co. said. “The few adverse events that have been reported represent an extremely low incidence rate, and in the rare instances of these adverse events, they were the result of the product being used well beyond its recommended life or consumer misuse. Spinbrush products are safe and effective when used as directed. We are aware of no incidents of serious injury to consumers.”

According to the manufacturer, the company has sold nearly 40 million Spinbrush toothbrushes in the last two years.

The FDA’s Advice to Parents, Caregivers and Consumers

  • Before using the Spinbrush, inspect it for any damage or loose brush bristles. If you find any, do not use the brush. Report it to Church & Dwight, which can be reached toll-free at 1-800-352-3384 or 1-800-561-0752.
  • Make sure the brush head is connected tightly to the brush handle, and test the brush outside of your mouth before using. If the connection feels loose or the brush head easily detaches from the handle, do not use the brush. Report it to Church & Dwight.
  • Use care not to bite down on the brush head while brushing.
  • To prevent injuries, always supervise children and adults who may need assistance when using the Spinbrush.
  • Follow the instructions and recommended replacement guidelines included with the Spinbrush.
  • Report injuries or problems with the Spinbrush to MedWatch—FDA's Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program either online, by regular mail, by fax or by phone.

    • Online
    • Regular Mail: Use postage-paid, pre-addressed FDA form 3500
    • Fax: 800-FDA-0178
    • Phone: 800-332-1088

1 Comment

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  1. Melissa says:
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    I’ve been using a Spinbrush for years and love it. I change the head regularly and have had no problems.