Attack the plaque with a smart toothbrush that knows where you haven’t brushed

Brushing once a day helps to keep plaque away, and a new ultrasonic toothbrush may soon serve as a giant dental hygiene leap for mankind.

Dr. William Richter, a Michigan-based dentist, has long witnessed the complications associated with poor brushing habits. In fact, the CDC estimates nearly half of American adults have periodontal disease. Meanwhile, kids lose 51 million school hours annually to address dental issues and cavities are the “most common chronic disease” for children and adolescents, according to the CDC.

To combat this epidemic, Richter invented the LifeBrush, a toothbrush that detects its position in your mouth to tell how well you’ve brushed and if you missed that tricky spot way in the back, using location position tracking to do so. The toothbrush then sends the data to your mobile device through Bluetooth LE; the app logs your brushing history in real time, affording you more opportunity re-brush, remove more plaque, and avoid cavities and gum disease.

In development for several months, the new dental device is still being tested and integrated with its mobile app. Richter has teamed with the Mid-Michigan Innovation CenterSteinbrink Engineering, and Lauro Ojeda, a University of Michigan Research Scientist who specializes in local position tracking. Among the challenges the group faces is with integrating that tracking with a vibrating electric toothbrush.

LifeBrush Smart Toothbrush AppThe built-in thermometer feature, which is meant to help parents keep an eye on kids’ fever spikes, seems a bit superfluous. It’s a very child-friendly brush, though. It has a “gamification” angle like Kolibree, a similar, connected toothbrush that uses motion sensors to track users’ brushing habits. Kids get a “Cavity Warrior Score,” alerting them to how well they’ve triumphed over plaque or can slay “dragon breath” by scrubbing their teeth clean.

LifeBrush is offering an early bird package for $169.00, plus shipping charges. To date, the group has raised just over $1,500.00 of their $65,000 goal on Indiegogo and has an ambitious target delivery date of November, 2015.