Oral-B iO Series 9 Review 2023: An Electric Toothbrush That Gives Me Real-Time Feedback


The Oral-B iO 9 comes with four iO Ultimate Clean round replacement brush heads that have unique angled, tufted bristles. This design of thinner bristles with longer and shorter lengths is layered to better target hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. The included brush heads are of standard softness (not too soft); however, with use, I find that my gums never bleed (unlike when I use my manual toothbrush and even other electric toothbrushes like the Colgate Hum). My gums feel clean but not tender after, perhaps owing to the brush’s micro-vibrations. For sensitive teeth, the toothbrush is also compatible with Oral-B iO Gentle Care brush heads, which have extra soft bristles (though I’ve not tried these).


According to the experts, it’s a real plus for your oral care if an electric toothbrush has a range of settings, including a self-timer, pressure sensor, and custom brushing modes. “This removes a lot of the guesswork in your cleaning, which helps you clean with confidence,” Lewis Chen, DDS, FICOI, FIADFE, cofounder and managing partner of Beam Street, told SELF. On the settings front, the Oral-B iO Series 9 seriously delivers. 

Cleaning Modes

On the interactive color display on the brush’s handle, you can select from seven different cleaning modes (daily clean, whitening, gum care, sensitive, intense, super sensitive, and tongue clean). Generally, I stick with the sensitive smart mode, but occasionally opt for tongue clean and whitening. I find the sensitive setting gentle enough for day-to-day use, but it’s nice to have the super sensitive option. As Dr. Chen notes, it’s helpful if an electric toothbrush has a setting to control its sensitivity level, as many patients find the vibrations uncomfortable.

Quad Timer

Once I start my brush cycle with a push of a button, the brush’s quad timer kicks in, meaning that every 30 seconds, the brush clearly vibrates to signal that I switch brushing a new quadrant of my mouth. I can eye how much time I’ve spent brushing on the screen, and once I’ve hit the recommended two minutes, the brush vibrates twice to signal I’m done (if I want to be).

Bimodal Smart Pressure Sensor and Personalized Feedback

My two favorite features of this toothbrush, however, are its bimodal smart pressure sensor and personalized feedback. At the base of the brush head is a ring of light that changes to red if I’m brushing too hard, white if I’m brushing too softly, and green if I’m using just the right amount of pressure. I’ve never had this kind of responsiveness in a toothbrush, and it really makes all the difference, especially as someone who’s struggled with wanting to scrub my teeth in order to feel clean. My gums thank me.

When I’ve hit the two-minute mark, a silly little smiley face appears on the brush’s screen. If I hit between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, it flashes a :/ and if I’m nowhere close, I get a more-disappointed face. This feedback feels like a kindergarten throwback (here’s a gold star for trying, Malia!), but it’s effective. As a people-pleaser (and now a toothbrush-pleaser), I want that smiley face, dammit, and I will brush enough to achieve it.

Oral-B App

Lastly, this brush syncs via Bluetooth with the Oral-B app. The app creates a 3D teeth-tracking map that analyzes the coverage you give to the 16 zones of your teeth while brushing and provides coaching based on your behaviors. It also theoretically keeps an eye on the pressure you apply, how long you brush, and what your goals are (whitening, fresh breath, plaque fighting, etc.). To be honest, I rarely open the app. When I open the app, I’ve not successfully gotten my toothbrush to pair in real-time so that I can easily see my habits and changes to make, despite fiddling around with connectivity and charging. The app is not a pro for me, nor is it a con. I could take it or leave it, but if you’re a real techie, it might be a selling point.

Oscillating Motion

Oscillation “means the bristles travel back and forth a certain distance to disrupt plaque and debris,” explained Chris Strandburg, DDS, dentist and Waterpik spokesperson. Our experts recommend finding an electric toothbrush that provides oscillation, which is notably different from the vibrating effect that many toothbrushes offer but don’t provide additional cleaning benefits.


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