What Is Smile Station?
Promising to let you you bring home the benefits of better brushing, the Smile Station is an oral hygiene aid that primarily functions as a timer that counts down as you brush your teeth. The product features a simplistic design that includes two slots, one for holding your toothbrush and the other for toothpaste.
The core functionality of the product, however, lies in its two-minute countdown timer that can be found on the front LCD screen. The makers of Smile Station state that dentists recommend brushing for at least two minutes in order to properly clean your teeth (a claim we will dive into in just a moment), and so the two-minute timer is designed to help you ensure that you are brushing enough to make it count.
The LCD screen does more than simply count down from 2 minutes, though. As the timer progresses, it also shows you which quadrant of your teeth you should be focusing on. Based on the explainer video on the product’s main website, it looks like the teeth are broken down into four sections, with each one being allocated 30 seconds of brushing time.
Once the 30 seconds are up, the device makes a noise to alert you that it’s time to move on to the next section. Then, once the timer reaches zero, the device makes another noise and a smiley face appears on the screen, signifying that you are good to go.
When not in use, the Smile Station can function as a regular digital clock that shows the current time and day, allowing it to serve a passive function in your bathroom even when you aren’t brushing.
The device features a minimalistic white plastic body, and comes with an integrated drip tray that can be easily taken apart and washed in the dishwasher when necessary. In fact, the entire device comes apart into three separate pieces, allowing you to keep the LCD display safe while you clean the other two BPA-free pieces in the dishwasher or by hand.
So, now that we know a bit more about the Smile Sation in general, let’s dig a bit deeper and take a top-down look at what dental experts have to say about properly brushing and caring for your teeth.
What Experts Really Say About Brushing Your Teeth
According to the makers of the Smile Station, dentists recommend that to properly clean and maintain your teeth, you need to brush them for at least two minutes at a time. Sources like WebMD and the Colgate Oral Health Center agree.
Based on these sources, many dentists seem to conclude that brushing for at least this long will maximize your chances of effectively removing plaque and other obstructions from your teeth, keeping them healthier and reducing the likelihood that you will develop cavities and other issues as a result.
However, this isn’t the only healthy practice we can implement to better protect our teeth. From the same WebMD article linked above, we are given several tips from dentists like Matt Messina, from Fairview Park, OH.
For instance, it looks like the force we use to brush our teeth needs to be more like a massage than a real scrubbing. According to Messina, brushing too hard is one of the biggest issues he finds with his patients. A softer, more consistent brushing will ensure better results, and it will cause less strain on your teeth as well.
In addition, Kimberly Harms, a dentist from Farmington, MN, mentions that brushing an often-overlooked area of your teeth can go a long way towards keeping them healthier overall.
From the WebMD article:
“You have about a millimeter of gum tissue where your tooth comes outside your gum, you want to kind of get under there, just about a millimeter, maybe 2 or 3 millimeters, right under the gum,” Harms says. “So the bristle needs to be able to bend.”
Smile Station Pricing & Return Policy
Smile Station is currently available directly from the manufacturer’s website for $14.95, plus $5.95 for processing and handling. However, it looks like there is a mandatory “double offer” that is included upon checkout that adds a second Smile Station to your order. This second device itself is free of charge, but it adds a separate processing and handling fee of $5.95 as well, bringing your grand total to $26.85.
As for the return policy, the company states that you have a 30 day satisfaction guarantee on any products purchased through their website, minus any shipping and handling fees.
Again, it’s important to realize that this means that out of the total cost of $26.85, only $14.95 is allowed to be refunded under this policy.
Are There Alternatives to the Smile Station?
If you’re even remotely interested in the Smile Station as a whole, you might be asking yourself if there are any other similar products available on the market to compare the device to. As it turns out, a quick Google search for “tooth brushing timer” reveals that there are dozens of different products available from various sources, many of which feature similar functionalities to the Smile Station.
During our research, we found that some products were geared more specifically toward children, with designs decorated with fantasy and cartoon characters from various creative franchises. These devices also featured various timing methods, with some opting for an hourglass-style sand counter in lieu of an LCD display.
We also found that there were a handful of iOS and Android mobile phone apps that are able to serve as brush timers, and many of these featured child-friendly themes as well.
Of course, another minimalistic alternative to these sorts of products might be the built-in timer app found in most smartphones on the market today. Many of us carry these devices around with us everywhere we go, and for some, the self-timer might fit the bill just fine.
Looking at the various products and services that provide similar functionality to the Smile Station, we found that there were a few aspects of the product that stood out amongst the competition.
For instance, most of the competing products we encountered didn’t have a digital clock onboard, nor did they guide you in terms of which area of your teeth to focus on. Many of these products also didn’t include a holder for your toothbrush and toothpaste.
If these features seem valuable to you, the Smile Station might be ideal. If you find value in the child-focused stylistic elements or the app-based approach, perhaps those solutions might be better for you.
Final Thoughts on the Smile Station
The Smile Station is built on the core principle that brushing your teeth for at least two minutes will lead to better oral hygiene as a whole. As we discovered in our section on brushing above, this looks to be true according to sources like WebMD and Colgate.
It stands to reason, then, that the Smile Station could potentially save you money at the dentist as the manufacturer suggests. But based on what we learned earlier on about proper brushing technique, just showing us where to brush in four quadrants on the front of the teeth isn’t enough. You also need to get under the gums, as well as on the backside of the teeth.
With that said, there appears to be multiple different options on the market for brushing timers, many of which serve similar roles to the Smile Station. So, how can you choose what will be best for your needs? Consider the following: How many in your family will be using the device regularly?
Judging from the explainer video on the product’s website, it looks as though there isn’t much room for more than two or so toothbrushes; any more than that, and there might be a space issue, not to mention a hygienic one (To be fair, this looks to be similar to putting your toothbrush in a normal cup or holder like the one that you might already be using, though this also isn’t likely to be very hygienic).
It’s worth noting that many of the other alternatives don’t include a place to store your brushes or toothpaste at all; we found this to be a fairly unique feature of the Smile Station during our research.
It will also be up to you to determine whether you need a brushing timer in the first place. Some individuals might find that using their smartphone timer is enough for them, and others may not need a timer at all.
Then again, if you have young children to look after, or if you struggle with oral hygiene, you might find some use for a device that helps instill good brushing habits and consistency. If this sounds like your situation, you might find that the Smile Station is able to provide some value for you and your family, but only if you use the device as intended and remain consistent in your brushing habit.
Having said that, you’ll still need to master proper technique in order to truly reap the rewards of effective brushing, keeping your teeth healthy and free from cavities in the process.