Exhibited in the Italian Trade Agency (ICE) pavilion at CES 2022, Cwash is an automated toothbrush designed for seniors and individuals who lack mobility or motor control, making effective dental cleaning simple and easy. While this is was the target population, it turns out that the device has appeal for users of all ages. Designed by the Italian startup Plus Biomedicals, Cwash requires neither toothpaste nor water, making the device a convenient option for travel and other non-health-related needs as well.

Cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues are just no fun. Painful and often embarrassing, these conditions can also interfere with eating and speech. Extensive research indicates that poor oral health affects overall health and can contribute to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. A large 2020 study found that older adults with signs of gum disease and mouth infections have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Yet frail seniors and those with dementia, bedridden individuals, and people living with disabilities often have trouble performing and maintaining oral care habits.

Cwash is made up of a U-shaped plastic “bite” connected to a small handle that contains the electronics hardware. Once the bite is inserted inside the mouth, micro-oscillations brush gentle, non-irritating polymer bristles across the teeth. At the same time, the device releases xylitol and menthol. The xylitol has anti-bacterial properties, and the menthol gives users a fresh taste. Users can select a 30 or 60-second cleaning. Discretely inserting and completing the process could be done at a stoplight or even between floors on an elevator.

In a small clinical trial, participants with the most plaque experienced up to 41% reduction after using Cwash for 30 days. For seniors and others with oral health care challenges, Cwash offers ease and convenience without the invasive, uncomfortable, or humiliating experience of having one’s teeth brushed by another person. Currently available only in Italy, those benefits suggest that Cwash may expand to international markets sooner rather than later.