Example #3 – Tooth Tunes

Here’s a slightly ridiculous example of design that changes behaviour for anyone looking for stocking-fillers.

The Tooth Tunes toothbrush made by Hasbro plays one of eleven tunes (from “If You’re Happy & You Know it Brush Your Teeth” to Queen’s “We Will Rock You”) for a strict two minutes. As you brush, your teeth pick up the vibrations via the bristles, making the music seem like it’s inside your head. Brushing firmly makes the music louder. As the manufacturer says:

“Your kids will love brushing their teeth to hit songs from some of their favourite artists. As sound vibrations stream from the bristles through their teeth, they hear the music in their heads. But, when they take the bristles off their teeth, the music stops playing in their head. So they’ll actually want to keep brushing for a full two minutes!” [1]

Approved by the British Dental Health Foundation, Tooth Tunes aims to encourage people to brush their teeth for two minutes rather than the more common 45 seconds [2].

To bring it down to the mechanistic level of persusive technology, Tooth Tunes uses operant conditioning to encourage kids to brush their teeth correctly; the reward of the music is only given when they’re brushing correctly.

Would you buy this for your kids?

[1, 2] http://www.hasbro.com/toothtunes/en_GB/default.cfm?page=parents

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1 Response to “Example #3 – Tooth Tunes”


  1. 1 William Shaw December 27, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    OK, so we bought our 13-year-old daughter a toothbrush that plays Hannah Montana songs as a joke. She says the song is rubbish but it’s cool to have a tune in your head and does seem to be brushing her teeth for longer. However I did catch her playing air guitar with the toothbrush in her mouth just now, which I’m not sure counts as dental hygiene.


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