FDA warns of spinbrush dangers

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DENVER -- They're supposed to improve the health of your teeth—not hurt them.

But the Food and Drug Administration has a warning about some electric toothbrushes.

The FDA is asking people to be aware of Arm & Hammer's Spinbrush. It comes in eight models, for both adults and kids.

It warns the battery-operated spinning heads can unexpectedly pop off in your mouth and chip a tooth, cut your gums, fly in your eyes or even get stuck in your throat.

"I was brushing my teeth and then I heard a snap and it hurt my tooth and I took it out because it fell off," says 9-year-old Sophie Goodman.

The head of her spinbrush suddenly broke off in her mouth.

"I was so scared because I didn't know what was happening," she says.

The FDA says it's happening to other people, too.

So it's making the company's manufacturer add safety notices to its television and print ads, and also to include a message on its label urging consumers to change the brush head at least every three months.

Pediatric dentist Tandi Donaldson says electric toothbrushes, in general, are good products because kids will brush longer than with manual brushes.

But she warns users have to read and follow the directions.

"It does show you how to put the head on it, how to turn it on and off, and sometimes a malfunction can be caused because we don't know how to use the spinbrush appropriately," says Donaldson.

One FDA warning is that parents supervise their child while brushing with a spinbrush.

“I send my kids off to the bathroom to do their own brushing and just to think something like that could come off in their mouth and I may not even know it, it’s scary,” says mom Rosa Kougl of Arvada.

It's enough risk to keep her two kids brushing the old-fashioned way.

Spinbrush's manufacturer, Church & Dwight, defends its product. It says: "…it is important to consider the relatively low incidence of these adverse event reports…and in the rare instances…they were the result of the product being used well beyond its recommended life or consumer misuse.”

Spinbrushes were sold as the Crest spinbrush before 2009.

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