* Prices may differ from that shown
I think a healthy, clean looking smile is one of the sexiest things. There is really no point spending all your money on the most expensive beauty products and the most stylish clothes if you don't take care of your teeth. I always brush twice a day at the very least. I use an alcohol free mouthwash but something I still do find to be the most cumbersome of all my dental routine, is flossing. I recall seeing on the American TV show the Doctors a dental expert saying if he had to pick only one thing for people to do out of brushing, using mouthwash and flossing, he would pick flossing one hundred percent of the time. He said that the food that settles between your teeth will slowly begin to rot. Then the bacteria get hold of it had emit fowl smelling gasses resulting in the most horrendous breath.
Also most cavities are a result of not flossing as brushing alone will not remove the food particles or even just the bacteria that lurk between all of our teeth. That's why I was given this Oral-B Hummingbird by the a lovely friend for Christmas as she knows how much I care about my oral health. The humming is a quality product as it's made by the very well know and trusted name of Braun.
This does not look like your average electric toothbrush, it has a very unusual shape and appearance. But that curve is to ensure the product can reach the most awkward or places in your mouth with the greatest of ease. This uses one AAA battery to power the motion needed to floss successfully. This is meant as an answer to the fiddly job that is flossing, having to roll the dental floss around two fingers one on each hand and then reach those teeth at the very back and do the movements needed, isn't an easy or enjoyable job. This on the other hand is said to have have a motorised motion to do most of the work.
There is a two prong attachment at the top that has a small strip of floss between these two sections, these two things take the place of my fingers by holding the floss tight and straight. All I have to do is press the button to power on the hummingbird. And just like I would if doing it the traditional way I slowly slide the floss between the teeth that I would like to target. This is so much easier as my hands are not blocking my view in the mirror and the flossing head is small enough to fit in anywhere in my mouth.
The hummingbird vibrates lightly and this vibration makes its way to the floss and this in turn dislodges any food particles that may be lodged between your teeth. Along with the vibration I still move the head back and forth gently between my teeth and gum line to ensure optimum results.
I have used the manual little dental floss picks that resemble the replacement heads for this device. But the reason I was never too keen on them was that I didn't like how many of them I would have to use each time. With normal floss I will use a new section for each tooth, this is the most hygienic thing to do and it prevents any bacteria from being transferred from one section to the other. With the hummingbird you are expected to move from tooth to tooth still using the same head. To me that doesn't sound healthy. Add to that the the heads are on amazon for thirty pounds for a pack of twenty five and you can see how much this would end up costing me.
There are replacement heads included, but if this was a bag of those disposable floss picks I would have used them all up in one sitting. So the fact that I would have to keep buying heads over and over again really made this an unappealing alternative to manual flossing. Plus the only thing I liked about it was it's shape and how easy it was to reach everywhere. But I was still doing the work by flossing like I normally would just with a slight vibration added which I found to be of very little use really. So for me this isn't worth buying, I think it is just another unnecessary gadget replacing something that really didn't need replacing.
I'm always interested in new dental products to see what the latest 'must have' items are on the dental hygiene market and a few years ago when this Braun Oral-B Hummingbird first came out, I thought it would be worth a try. And by pure chance, I actually won this in a local pub raffle one summer, so it gave me an ideal opportunity to try it out.
To try and understand what it is, this item caters for that often forgotten area between your teeth, where many will simply brush their teeth everyday, but forget about flossing out those areas between the teeth and in the gum line where food can get trapped, and still remain, after brushing. Hence, it can potentially lead to gum disease and decay over time. Ordinarily I would use a length of floss stretched between my fingers to tackle these areas, but this new Oral-B product seemed to be a whole new concept on that flossing regime, by apparently making the whole process somewhat more efficient and easier to do, especially to reach those difficult areas at the back of your mouth.
What is it? Well for starters, this is the original version of the Oral-B Hummingbird (which has now been updated slightly to also include a pick attachment) which just came with the single type flossing tool. Overall, it measures about 10 cm in length and consists of a handle assembly which houses the single AAA size battery and the motor to vibrate the head. A small button on the top of the housing switches the motor on and off. At the top end of the device you have what is called the Power Flosser which easily snaps on and off the handle and is replaceable. This is basically a small plastic fork attachment which has a small length of floss stretched between the 2 fork ends. The end of the fork is also slightly angled.
The idea is that you switch the device on and then work the floss down between your teeth and into the gum line. The slight angle on the fork end should make this slightly easier to do and allow the floss to get into those hard to reach areas of the mouth. The gentle vibrations from the motor get fed into the floss, which in theory should then vibrate away any debris, plaque etc. The fork end is also just wide enough to allow you to draw the floss back and forth sideways through the gap between your teeth or in your gum line, allowing any loose debris to be drawn out and away. In theory, the whole process should leave your mouth feeling fresh and clean.
In use, it is a simple process, although I do have some reservations over how effective it actually is. The vibrations are not unpleasant, and it is fairly easy to work the floss down between your teeth, particularly with the angled head towards the back of my mouth in the hard to reach areas. But the fork bit is not actually that wide, so you are fairly limited in how much pull through action that can be achieved working it side to side to clear the area of debris.
The other area of concern I have is with the floss itself. The floss is actually fixed to the ends of the fork such that it can't be changed. So in effect, you are using the same bit of floss throughout your mouth, possibly spreading any gum disease you may have from one area to the next, which is not ideal. The only way to change the floss is to change the head, and that get's expensive because only Braun make the heads for this device. The device does come with a few spare heads when you first buy it, but they won't last long. So whilst the initial outlay for the device may appear to be reasonable, over the long term, it could get quite expensive replacing the head each time.
Is it effective? Kind of difficult to say. Personally I didn't feel as if it was doing that much, so I now sort of alternate between this and normal floss to do the job, and thus far, my dentist is happy with the state of my teeth. But what really put me off this product was the thought of being 'forced' by Braun to continually buy their new heads just to ensure that I kept the device end hygienically clean. It would have been so much better, and cheaper, if Braun had designed it so that you could replace just the floss element of the head yourself each time rather than having to buy the whole fork end piece.
In summary, whilst this item is easy to use and apparently good, it does have some problems and limitations with the design and how it can be used. So overall, I would only give this a 3* recommendation.
Review also on Ciao under Randal1.
So...dental hygiene. Always a fun subject for a review. Incidentally, on the subject of dentists, I believe I have the best one ever. He once prescribed jellybeans for wisdom tooth pain. He's also fond of telling me that everyone should eat lots of dark chocolate but should wash it down with copious amounts of whisky so the alcohol can neutralise all the sugar. And he's an NHS dentist - truly, teethy things don't get much better than that. The only downside is that his surgery overlooks a massive graveyard, so that when he tips the scary dentist chair up I am greeted by a vista that's filled with dead people. It's alright, though: my granny's in there and I'm sure she keeps an eye on all the other corpses.
Anyway, it would seem that, whilst some family dynasties have a tendency towards genius or acting ability, mine have rather more prosaic gifts: eccentricity and tartar build-up.
Any time I go to the dentist, he tells me that I have enough tartar to tile a roof. Aside from the fact that it's a truly revolting image, it also speaks of a level of architectural incompetence not seen since two of the little pigs decided to go into the house building game. Perhaps this is why Ireland has so many unoccupied houses.
I should probably point out at this stage that I'm not some unhygienic brute who cleans her teeth with the end of a twig. No indeed. I have a toothbrush and everything. An electric one, no less (although it doesn't play tunes, which saddens me slightly). I've even been known to swig a bit of the 'oul mouthwash on occasion. Not Listerine, though. Other, less hurty mouthwashes. I feel very strongly that mouthwash shouldn't assault you.
I told my dentist all this in a very plaintive voice and he responded by saying that I didn't floss enough (you can't hide from dentists. They have psychic flossing-knowledge powers). So, in the spirit of taking better care of my pearly whites, I forked out a fiver for the Oral B Hummingbird.
~*~Is it an actual hummingbird?~*~
No. Honestly, what is wrong with you people? I can kind of see the comedy appeal of sticking one in your gob but you'll only have a hot and bothered Rolf Harris pursuing you for cruelty to animals, and no-one wants that.
It looks slightly like a hummingbird, I suppose. If you close one eye and squint. And are labouring under the delusion that hummingbirds are made of blue and white plastic.
~*~What does it do?~*~
The body of the device contains an AAA battery. This powers it in much the same way as electric toothbrush, vibrating the head backwards and forwards (this has all gone terribly Ann Summers, for which I can only apologise. Bear with me). Onto the top of the humming bird fits a little plastic two-pronged fork. A piece of dental floss is tightly strung between the two prongs.
The idea is that this is used in much the same way as regular dental floss, but the tension of the floss, the vibration and the angle of the prongs should mean that you are able to floss more effectively and get to the hard to reach bits - behind wisdom teeth, for example.
There is also a plastic pick attachment but I found this much less effective than regular toothbrushes and using it on the vibrate setting made my gums bleed.
~*~Does it work?~*~
Kind of. The shape and design of the Hummingbird makes it a lot easier to reach the back teeth, which is where most people's tartar tends to be at its worst. The buzzing does help it to get right down into the crevices and you don't seem to get tiny strands caught between your teeth the way you do with ordinary floss. Because you're not winding the floss round your fingers, it is a bit less messy.
However, there are a few points that let it down. When I bought mine, I assumed that I could string the prongs on the top with floss; this is not the case. The floss is fixed to the prongs and so a new set of prongs must be used every time. This seems extraordinarily wasteful and works out, over time, to be quite expensive as a set of fifteen prongs costs just over a fiver. The battery life isn't great, either.
Also, I couldn't help but feel it was a bit grim to use the same couple of centimetres of floss between each and every tooth. That's not so much cleaning them as just moving the gunge to a new location. When I use ordinary floss I take out a long length and then use a different bit for each tooth and this is the way I'd prefer to do it with an electric flosser.
Overall, it's not so much better at the business of flossing that it's worth the money you'll fork out on replacement prongs. A good quality toothpaste and toothbrush is probably a more sensible thing to spend your money on.
*Some hummingbird trivia: they fly at an average of 30mph. That's faster than my aunt drives.
I have had my hummingbird for ages and it has sat in its packet, you guessed it, for ages. I went to the dentist the other day though and once again I got the nagging about how I needed to floss. Yeah ok, I'll give it a go.
So not willing to fork out for some more floss knowing I buy some everytime I go to the dentist then never use it, I dug around in my bathroom and found the hummingbird. This friendly looking device is supposed to make flossing easier and quicker. Sounds good.
It is a little thing rather like the picture which screws and pulls apart to allow the insertion of a triple A battery (which I think came with it). This makes the little thing vibrate on the pushing and holding of a button. Supposedly this is supposed to help you to floss however I really don't see it and instead, my mouth just gets filled with a horrible vibrating sensation and it maked my hand feel like ive been working a pneumatic drill for hours. I don't think it is any more effective than regular flossing and in some places of my mouth, the pure size of the beast makes it hard to reach those hard to reach areas.
The hummingbird also came with some little "picks" which were little bits of plastic which were pointy and slotted on the vibrating handle. these, randomly and to my surprise, were mint flavour! :D However these made me still feel wierd and vibratey so I have stopped using these too.
I can't remember how much I paid for my thing but I bought it from my dentist and it should cost about £5. It came with 3 spare floss heads in the packet and new ones can be picked up quite cheaply. I really wouldn't bother though and I find the glide floss sticks (which I also found unopened in my bathroom) work mush better and have actually got me to start flossing.
You also have to buy refils as you need to use a new one regularly as it gets worn out and dirty. These are quite cheap but you do need a lot.
Also on ciao.
I cant tell you how many times I have been to the dentist, to have him ask me if I am flossing my teeth daily. I would look at him and nod to say that of course I am flossing. He would just smile back as if somehow knowing that I was lying through my almost white but completely un-flossed teeth!
This isn't to say I never tried, it just always seemed I could never master the art. I could manage in between my two front teeth but that was about my limit before I would throw away the string and give it up as a bad job. I know the importance of flossing between you teeth as part of your oral care routine but could just never manage it, and if I am really honest was to lazy to persevere with.
The British Dental Association advises that flossing teeth can help to remove plaque and bacteria from in between your teeth and from underneath your gum line and that regular flossing can help to battle against tooth decay and gum disease. I actually looked on their website about 2 years ago for advice on flossing as I was having trouble with bleeding gums. They have a guideline for people to follow describing the best way to floss your teeth which the following link will take you to.
Even with these helpful instructions I was still finding it difficult to hold the string and floss, luckily for me the website recommended the use of 'flossers' for people still having difficulty.
On my next trip to boots I went to the dental care section and found the Oral-B humming bird along side the dental floss. Without having done much research into what I was going to look for I chose this flosser as I liked the look of it, and it was small so wouldn't take up too much bathroom space. The only difference between my one and the one in the dooyoo picture is that mine is green instead of blue. The length without the refill added to the top is about 6cm and it has a flat base so can be stood up on the bathroom shelf.
The flosser comes with one AAA battery, I have used this item most days for 2 years and have changed the battery twice (please bare in mind that I normally buy poundland batteries so they are not the best quality), with this in mind I think the battery life is pretty good. My one problem with this product it how you change the battery. You have to twist the base of the flosser which pushes up the top of the devise, you then pull out the top and replace the battery. The difficult bit is putting the flosser back together, you have to push down on the top while twisting the base. It isn't an impossible task by any meant but is just a little fiddly and I am an impatient person.
To use the flosser you push one of the disposable flossing attachments onto the top of the device. To turn the flosser on you have to push the button on the back and hold it down while you floss your teeth. The first time I used the Humming bird I was surprised at how easy it was to get between all my teeth. Some at the bottom were more tricky as my teeth there are very close together. After I few days practice I was finding it really easy to use and I could really feel the difference in the cleanliness of my teeth.
The humming bird also comes with a tooth pick attachment, I have only used this once when I had an annoying piece of chicken stuck between my teeth. It was very effective at removing the offending chicken but probably nothing a normal tooth pick couldn't manage.
I did find that when I first started flossing me teeth that I had some bleeding from the gums for the first 4 days. According to the British Dental Association this is completely normal and nothing to worry about. As with anything though if the bleeding carried on for more than a few days when flossing I would advise people to stop using it and get advice from the dentist or hygienist. The dental hygienist is really good for showing you better techniques for flossing and brushing teeth.
At the moment the cheapest place I can see the Oral-B Humming Bird for sale on the internet is at www.amazon.co.uk They are selling the starter kit for £4.27 this includes the humming bird with one battery, 3 flossing attachments and 5 tooth pick attachments. The flossing attachment refills are available for £2.10 for a pack of 15. I have to admit though I search for the refills when they are on special offer and haven't had to buy any for well over a year, I still have lots in stock even though I change it every day.
The true test of the effectiveness really had to be the next dentist visit. After he had looked at my teeth he said to me "I'm glad you finally started flossing". I really have no idea how he could tell but was pleased that there was a noticeable improvement for my efforts. So for around the last two years my teeth have been flossed most nights before bed. I would recommended the humming bird to anyone that finds the traditional string to fiddly. The device is very durable as I have never had a problem with it. It just looses a star as it is a pain to change the battery and I am sure this could have been made easier. I have never suffered form bleeding gums since initially using the flosser so I do believe it has improved the overall health of my gums.
I don't floss, but my mum does! She has problems with her gum line and it's absolutly essential tat she flosses, but like me she found that flossing with that.. string/floss was fiddly, annoying and caused more hassle then it was worth. I gave up on flossing basically, sorry dentists! Anyways, it is quiet and doesn't disturb everyone in the house when it is used and becasue its so efficient flossing becomes fast. The one time I did use it (after changing the head) I was nearly converted to the way of the flosser, purely by the novelty of it, it cleans between teeth, its quiet, it isn't uncomfortable to use, and it is just really nice how you can change the floss wands to go on the end so you decide whats right for your teeth. This may put the toothfairy out of business =P Oh! and it made me dribble a bit when I used it, which is why I only used it once.
Both my wife and I found it the best flosser to get to reach the awkward-to-reach gaps between the rear teeth. The picks were less useful, but OK if you hadn't got anything else to do the job. The main problem was finding refills in the shops that had sold the original kit. I've had to go online, and buy in bulk to minimise the exorbitant P&P charges of online traders.
A terrifying torture device!
The hummingbird got very stuck between my teeth, and had a battle getting it out again. Very uncomfortable.
My dentist had warned me not to get one for this very reason. But I am a sucker for special offers and seeing the Hummingbird on sale had to buy one. Waste of money!
Agree with other reviewer - that the satin floss is the way to go. If you've never tried it, its much better than the usual sort of floss, kinder to my poor gums.
Brilliant! use the blue pick, dont bother with the floss. as the plaque is removed the gap widens, so the pick goes through further. The pick goes under the gums and around the back of the teeth. So good that a daily floss and a couple of mouthwashes and bingo all that is left are white clean teeth. xlnt after a meal for getting rid of bits that hang on in. A better product you cant buy
There is nothing out there that compares to the Braun Oral-B Hummingbird. It is the most efficient and the easiest way to floss. It is by far the most practical approach to flossing and is an effortless product to use. Even you children will be able to use it with great results. I can not recommend this item highly enough. I will never be without one in my home dental kit.
My sad pathetic flossing history
I have teeth that are exceptionally close together - you could say that my dainty little mouth just isn't big enough for all the teeth inside. For years dentists nagged me to floss but, being young and foolish I swore blind I would, bought another load of floss and then within a week went back to my slovenly ways.
I had tried all sorts of things - regular floss, waxed floss, tape, expanding tape (don't ask but it doesn't work), little flossy things on sticks that keep your fingers out of the business end. If there was a product for flossing, I'd tried it. And I hated them all. However, I'm now a reformed character - inspired by finding a good dental practice and by 3 monthly visits to the hygienist. However, my Damascene conversion was not due to the Hummingbird but to Oral B Satin Floss.
Who likes flossing?
Let's face it - flossing isn't fun. It hurts, it's fiddly and sometimes it's a bit smelly too if you get old scummy plaque on your fingers. So anything that's going to make flossing more enjoyable or more effective must be good. Right? Well that's true but the Hummingbird sadly didn't do it for me.
Electricity = Better?
I'm a dedicated electric tooth brush user - I've had loads, all Oral B and I can't fault them. So seeing that Oral B had a buzzing flosser I gave it a go.
You can find them in Boots or Superdrug as well as many of the supermarkets. I bought mine in Boots when they were first launched and were typically selling for between £4.99 and £5.99. I actually went shopping that day just to look for these - having seen an ad in a magazine.
The introductory pack comes with the Hummingbird and a few floss heads and picks - but less than a week's worth. So probably in your enthusiasm to change your life and save your teeth, you'll buy a box of extra heads or picks at around £2.50 a pack. £2.50 will buy you a fortnight's worth of floss heads or nearly a month's of picks.
So at £8-10 down, you leave the shop with dreams of a plaque free future.
How does the Hummingbird work?
You wedge a little floss head onto the bird, push the button and for as long as you are holding the button down, the head vibrates helping to remove all the nasty stuff between your teeth. Alternatively, you put in a soft plastic pick and do it that way.
The Hummingbird just doesn't work for me for a number of reasons
1. The floss is unwaxed and with my teeth it gets stuck. This leaves me standing in front of the mirror with a lump of plastic hanging off my teeth, wrestling to get it out of my mouth without pulling my teeth out with it.
2. Gagging - I really don't like stuffing this thing into my mouth - it makes me want to gag.
3. Finger fatigue - It's quite fiddly to keep your finger on the button as you manipulate the device
4. The floss is too narrow - I generally use tape rather than floss and found the Hummingbird floss too sharp and harsh on my gums. As a result it caused a lot more bleeding than manual flossing.
5. Slow, slow, slow - I can whizz round my mouth with regular floss tape in under a minute. With the Hummingbird it was taking a really long time to get round the whole mouth - even without the wrestling time.
6. So expensive - a 25m pack of waxed tape will last me a couple of months when used once a day. That costs the same as just 15 floss heads for the Hummingbird which will only last for 2 weeks.
If you don't floss and buying one of these makes it more fun and gets you flossing then that's great - give it a go. But if you are already an experienced and competent flosser, you probably won't benefit from the extra expense.
However, just because it doesn't work for me I'm not going to say 'don't buy it' because that wouldn't be fair - I'd just say 'take it easy and don't buy too many refills before you know you can use it' and if you love it, give me a shout - I've got a spare box of refills that aren't going anywhere soon!
Let me tell you about a revolution in the world of flossing (is there a world of flossing? Well if there is there has been a revolution in it!)
Now, I've known for years that I'm supposed to floss. Lots of people (none more so than my own mum!) tell me that if I dont floss regularly then I run the risk of suffering tooth decay or gum disease or even mouth cancer or heart disease! So you would think that with such warning in mind, I would be persuaded to floss the recommended amount (daily, I think).
But no. I wasn't persuaded. You see, the idea of me squeezing flossing into my already packed 'get out of the house before the idiots get onto the motorway' morning routine was about as feasible as taking a couple of weeks off work for a holiday to Jupiter! What on Earth possesses people to stand with their fist in their mouth in the morning trying to manouvere string between teeth and through gaps that simply aren't there in the morning. Even if the gap is there you end up cutting your gum to pieces. My underlying theory always was that if I can't get this string in the gap between my teeth then I won't be able to get tartar in there either so I'm ok!
Anyway, for all you dentists out there reading this (and you mum!) you'll be pleased to know that I have had a change of heart. It all happened when I was looking for a new toothpaste. I saw this ...thing on the shelf that didn't look like a toothbrush but also didn't look like aything else either. I was intrigued and took a closer look. It was the Oral B Hummingbird. It was what the world has been waiting for so as make flossing a realistic possibility.
It costs around 7 - 8 pounds and was advertised as a flosser. It was obviously electronic for some reason of which I couldn't work out at first. And it contained in the pack some strange pointy and catapult type things as well.
I continued to investigate as I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed that I had made this amazing discovery of something alien to our world - right there on the shelf in Tesco!
It works like this. The 1 and half inch base has a button on it in the middle and a neck at the top. The neck is for attaching the pointy (tooth pick) heads onto and the catapult (Y shape flossers) onto. The button is to make the heads vibrate or pulse gently increasing the motion of the head, powered by a regular AAA battery. So when the head is on and you place the floss between your teeth, press the button and not only does it ease the floss into the gaps that I thought never existed (gently so you avoid gum cutting), but it has a gentle abrasive effect on the in between bits of your teeth removing plaque, tartar and any bits of food that have been rotting there since Christmas Dinner! Amazing.
When I bought the hummingbird it came with a couple of tooth picks and a couple of flossers. To be honest I can't see what the tooth picks are for because they really are too big to get between your teeth. I only use the flossers but realised that the two that came with the pack would not last long. I returned to Tesco to buy a pack of replacement flosser heads. Theyr'e not cheap and price up at about £5 for 15 (similar price for toothpicks. I don't suppose you have to replace the head everytime you floss but even then if you floss every day you'll do well to make them last a month.
However, this marvelous invention has enabled me to start flossing every other day which is a massive achievement (and I still get to the motorway before the idiots!) so £5 per month is more than worthwhile. The secret behind the hummingbirds success is how easy it is to use. It is quick, convenient and it can all be done with one hand! It takes about 2 minutes to floss your whole mouth (mind you I suppose that depends on how many teeth you have) and it's very easy to keep clean.
I fully rcommend this product and challenge you to find a more convenient way of doing such an inconvenient thing!
the hummingbird is quite a crafty yet simple idea. Floss on a stick!
The whole point is that it's now much simpler to floss, none of that fiddling about with huge lengths of floss. Also if you have large hands or poor manual dexterity it means you have more chance of being able to utilise floss.
The vibrating aspects of the flosser also helps to ease it between the teeth.
But now for the negatives...
the floss is actually rather thick, which means if you have tight contacts between your teeth you might not be able to get it between you teeth anyway!
secondly it isn't particulary cheap £4.99 for the starter pack then £2.50 for 10-15 refills. Working out approximatley £5-10 pounds a month.
But then it's worth that amount of money to keep your gums healthy and breath fresh!
The Oral-B "Hummingbird" is the latest in a long line of gadgets designed to help us improve our oral hygiene. The dental market has almost become flooded over the past few years, with additions such as a whole range of electric toothbrushes, mouthwashes, tongue scrapers, tooth-stain erasers, scale removers, flosses, tapes and many more items.
The Hummingbird is a battery operated device, about the size of a thumb (about 4" high), designed to clean in between teeth. This is acheived using two standard methods - floss and dental sticks.
As you use the device, it vibrates to enhance the cleaning process, whilst emitting a fairly high-pitched humming noise.
The name, unsurprisingly, is derived from the fact that the gadget's unique shape resembles that of a hummingbird. The base of the device holds one AAA battery (a Duracell battery is supplied with purchase), which gives many hours of use. (I have been using the device for about two months now, on a regular basis - and still on the original battery !).
At the top of the barrel, there is the operation button. This is a rubber coated button that, when held down, operates the vibration effect.
Moving up to the top, there is a plastic section, where you can slot in either the dental stick or the flossing attachment. This is simply a push on, pull off method that is very quick and easy to use.
Using the product is also very easy. After selecting on of the attachments, you simply insert the end between your teeth and hold down the power button. Some additional hand movement is required to obtain the best results, and you work across from one tooth to the next.
After use, you simply remove and disgard the attachment and rinse the device.
The Hummingbird aims to provide two methods of cleaning between your teeth where a regular toothbrush cannot reach. If this were it's only aims, then the product would be a success.
If however, as appears to be the case, Oral B are claiming that the Hummingbird is more effective than standard flossing and dental sticks, then I would question those claims and generally regard the product as a failure.
Looking at each of the attachments in turn, the flossing tool has approximately 1cm of floss on it. Comparing that to when I use standard floss, I use around 30cm - and this means that the actual length of floss passing between my teeth is far greater.
The vibration effect is so minimal, I cannot see any improvement it could make over the standard floss.
The actual plastic tool does make it easier to get access to more difficult teeth - however there are other "non-vibrating" plastic tools that provide this benefit at a far cheaper price.
On the subject of cost, the floss refills are priced at around £2.50 for 15 - which compared to those other non-vibrating models is around 150% more expensive !
Onto the dental sticks - these are short, plastic pointed sticks that attach onto the end of the Hummingbird. These are used to clean between the teeth and massage the gums.
These actually have quite an unexpected strong minty taste that leaves your mouth feeling quite fresh.
Again, however, the vibration is so slight that any benefits would be negligable. By manually sliding the device between your teeth, you do feel the results, but again these are just as easily achieved with standard dental sticks at a fraction of the cost. The standard price for a refill pack is around £2.50 for 25 - (10p each !).
The sticks are designed to be quite flexible in order not to damage the gums, and to make manipulation slightly easier. Unfortunately I did find them to be a bit too flexible and after very short times, the point was so distorted I could no longer use the dental stick.
After the first use, I noticed some slight bleeding of the gums - however after a couple of uses this was not the case. I belive that this is to be expected in many cases - espcially if flossing is not a regular activity for you.
Looking at the official Hummingbird website (www.oralbhummingbird.com), the makers, "Oral B", claim to have scientific proof that this device is "Clinically Proven" to work. In fact, if you look carefully at the site, the claim is actually "Clinically proven to perform as well as traditional floss" - note the last five words there !
This was my experience - yes, the device did work, but only as well as traditional floss and sticks !!
So, would I recommend the product ? If you want to spend a relatively large sum of money on yet another gadget for you bathroom cabinet, then by all means do so.
If, however, you are cost-concious, on a budget or just sensible, I'd recommend you stick with the wide range of traditional products out there at a fraction of the cost.
As my "pros" and "cons" state, "It cleans as well as other floss and sticks... but at a much higher cost" !
The starter pack costs around £3.49 - £4.99, and includes the Hummingbird, one AAA Duracell battery, 3 floss attachments and 5 dental sticks. This is widely available from chemists and drug stores.
Oh, and by the way, if you haven't already figured out the answer to the title question, "Why Does The Hummingbird Hum ?", it's because it doesn't know the words !!! An old joke I know, but you try coming up with a title including the word "Hummingbird" !!!