I woke up one morning late last January with the worst tooth ache ever coming from my wisdom tooth. I promptly called my dentist only to be given an appointment that was two weeks out and was told to take some Tylenol for the pain. UGH!!!
When I finally had my appointment, I was told the tooth would had to be pulled and I given a referral to an oral surgeon and more pain medicine. Again, I found that I would had a another long wait. The appointment the oral surgeon set was for the end of March. Can you guess what happened next, COVID! The appointment that I had been waiting for almost two months was suddenly cancelled and with no estimate as to when the dentist office would be seeing patients again. It took until September for me to get that tooth pulled. Needless to say, taking better care of the remainder of my teeth has been a pressing issue for me ever since.
Sadly, I am not alone in my struggle. Without access to dentist through the pandemic, many people also found themselves painfully aware of how important oral hygiene health is. Today, everyone has been paying closer attention to their oral health care and at-home maintenance. Luckily for us, new innovative products are emerging to met our needs. At this year’s CES, I was introduced to one such product.
Y-Brush was created to improve oral and dental health, which is currently a global public health issue.
In fact, 90% of case studies show that teeth brushing is not done correctly. Recommendations made by health professionals are similar from country to country. They all agree on the importance of respecting 2 main requirements for dental health to be efficient, whether it be with an electric toothbrush or a manual one:
- Teeth should be brushed for 2 to 3 minutes twice a day. This corresponds to a minimum of 4 seconds spent on one tooth.
- A technical motion called the Bass method should be adopted. This consists in slightly tilting the toothbrush, so that the bristles are inclined at a 45° angle on the teeth, while gently moving the brush back and forth in short strokes combined with slight movements of small amplitude.
For many, teeth brushing is considered as a strenuous and tedious chore, and the official recommendations end up not being taken into consideration.
How does it work?
The way Y-Brush works is similar to the way a regular electric toothbrush works: a handle conveys vibrations to a nylon bristle brush which in turns moves in such a way to efficiently clean the teeth, gums and gum line. The vibrations provided by the device are based on specific sonic frequencies.
Y-Brush uses nylon bristles and vibrations for maximal efficiency. Indeed, these technologies have been proven to be the most performant. Unlike silicone strips and other materials which have been tested, nylon bristles are fine enough to reach in between the teeth, thus producing a deep clean and careful eliminationof dental plaque.
The innovative character of the product comes from the brush itself. The brush is in the shape of a Y allowing for complete coverage of all of the teeth. Instead of brushing tooth per tooth, facet per facet as with regular manual or electric toothbrushes, the device brushes all of the top teeth simultaneously for 5 seconds, and then the bottom for 5 seconds.
My Interview with Benjamin Cohen, Co-founder and CEO of Y-Brush
What inspired you to start the company?
Many years ago I was visiting my younger cousins. At bedtime, I noticed that after scrubbing their front teeth for less than a minute, they considered they were done. After having a chat with them about teeth brushing, I discovered they knew what they were supposed to do, but found the process long and boring and that they thought a quick and superficial tooth brushing daily was sufficient. Then, I wanted to change their morning routine and the ones of other children and adults (like me 🙂 )
What’s your core market? Who is your ideal customer?
Our core market is everyone who doesn’t like to brush their teeth or who wants to improve their oral health. Our ideal customer is a people who don’t like that and doesn’t manage to change their habits even if he knows that 40 sec is not enough.
What is your vision for the company?
Change the morning routine (and before going to bed), switch a chore into a fun instant, and improve dental health in the world (which is a problem for the WHO).
How is the company doing financially? How close is the company to becoming profitable and what are the plans around that?
Around 1 year. The plans are to continue our growth to sell more until the break even.
What is the most critical initiative you are working on now and how do plan on achieving it?
The most critical initiative we are working on is growing the company. It is quite difficult for the sales (and we manage to do that), but it is very difficult for the humans. Growing means hiring people, keeping them in the team, etc… It is particulary difficult because we manufacture by ourselves some part and then we need many technicians/operators, which are job position with a salary which is not very interesting (in France).
How do you drive innovation and new product cycles?
We constantly check what is new on the market, what our competitors do, and what our customers suggest to us. With that, we define priorities and improve our product very quickly.