Can a Smartphone App Help Improve Your Oral Health?

by | May 16, 2019 | Oral Hygiene

hands holding smartphoneThere’s an app for everything, including help with your oral health, but do any of those oral hygiene apps help? A recent study in the BDJ aimed to find out.

The researchers focused on one app in particular, Brushlink, which promises to “track your brushing sessions with real-time guidance.”

Brushlink transforms any toothbrush – manual or electric – into a ‘smart toothbrush’. Brushlink will seamlessly connect to the Brushlink app and coaches you to help improve your dental hygiene.

Naturally, it’s gamified, too, letting you earn points toward dental discounts from Brushlink certified dental practices – of which there don’t seem to be many yet, judging by the sample searches we did on their website. (There’s not one within 100 miles of Arlington, for instance.)

For the study, 108 patients from two dental practices were recruited and split into two groups. One used the app, the other did not. Both received identical oral hygiene instruction.

How did it go?

Full mouth plaque scores declined from 40.1 to 11.7, a reduction of 70% in the test group compared to a reduction from 29.1 to 20.5 (30%) in the control group. The device was found to be very well accepted. Participants were conscious of improving their brushing and improving their knowledge of how to brush well. They also reported enjoyment and fun being derived from use of the device and found it simple to use.

Pretty impressive – though there’s some potential conflict of interest here, in that the study’s lead author is also on Brushlink’s Scientific Committee. And Brushlink is hardly the only app out there, just one of the relatively few thus far that’s been subjected to scientific evaluation.

There’s Brush DJ, for instance, which takes music from your own playlist and plays it for two minutes – the recommended time for toothbrushing. It also gives a variety of oral hygiene reminders.

Brush Up is intended as a fun way for kids to improve their brushing. Featuring a character named Budd, the app aims to train your child to brush, focusing on specific parts of the mouth. Using your phone’s front camera, your child can compare their technique to Budd’s.

But it’s not all about brushing. Text2Floss reminds you about that other critical aspect of your home care: interdental cleaning. You can get other notifications, as well, along with oral health education, a secure medical history tool, and a timer that plays music while you floss.

We don’t necessarily endorse these or any other oral health apps, but if you find they help you up your home care game – well, we’re all for that!

Image by Marco Verch, Creative Commons

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