Toothbrush Timer

This toothbrush holder will make sure you’re brushing your pearly whites for an appropriate length of time. The three cups serves as tootbrush storage, and detect when one has been removed. Once you start brushing your teeth the lights on the front and bell in the back count down the process automatically.

The counting sequence starts when a weight sensor in the base detects a change caused by picking up a toothbrush. The ATmega328 — which is programmed with Arduino-style code — then turns on all of the incandescent lamps mounted on the front portion of the base. Each of these are switched with a 2N3904 transistor in order to sink enough current for the bulb. As a two-minute timer decrements, the bulbs are extinguished one by one. But there is also an auditory feedback mechanism. On the back of the base is a small bell. A hammer on a servo strikes the bell every 30 seconds to let you know how you’re doing. The entire thing is driven by an internal Li-ion battery which lasts about three weeks between charges. Don’t miss the demo video found after the break.

4 thoughts on “Toothbrush Timer

  1. Neat idea, but I think it should also compensate for the time it takes to put toothpaste on your brush before starting its countdown. Maybe add a 10 second count up before the 1 minute count down?

    1. The compensation for toothpaste is implemented. The weight sensor is read every 10 seconds, so between the moment I lift the brush and the time starts I get average of 5 seconds to prepare.

  2. My Sonicare electric toothbrush has the same feature built-in, and I find it useless.

    While two minutes is probably a realistic *minimum*, it often takes longer; and is highly dependent on your brushing technique, choice and condition of brush, and toothpaste (some are more abrasive than others).

    So you don’t need a timer, no matter how classy it may look. You need to check what really matters – how clean your teeth are after brushing – and modify based on that. If your technique sucks, you can brush all day and still not have clean teeth.

    Especially if you have special issues. I have eroded enamel near the gumline, thanks to years of those big old-fashioned metal braces as a child, combined with the primarily side-to-side brushing motion I had to adopt to sufficiently clean that area with them. Which now poses a dilemma. Those eroded spots accumulate more plaque, are much harder to remove plaque from, and easiest to clean with side-to-side brushing. But they’re also softer and easier to further wear down with brushing, especially side-to-side. Hacking my dental health has been an important issue for me.

    So I started using the Sonicare long before my dentist started recommending them, and it’s been a godsend; the eroded spots both get clean and aren’t noticeably eroding further. But I still have to brush longer than two minutes, which makes the auto shutoff of modern Sonicares an annoyance. I also started using a Shower Breeze oral irrigator, because I hate flossing, and I was getting tartar buildup between teeth under the gumline; which required painful cleanings to remove. Happy to report it works great. No more problems, cleanings are quick and pain-free, and my dentist now thinks I floss religiously though I never do it. ;)

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