Mobile App Encourages Good Oral Health Habits

With people young and old spending inordinate portions of the day staring at their cellphones, why not spend some of that time learning how to brush properly?

A September study from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry in the United Kingdom, published in the British Dental Journal reveals a phone app equipped with brushing reminders and other features motivated 88 percent of study respondents to brush their teeth for longer.

Brush DJ was launched in 2011 and has been downloaded on more than 197,000 cellphones. The principle use of the app is a music player that picks music from the owner's device and plays the song for two minutes - the amount of time people should spend brushing their teeth. The app also sets reminders for brushing, using mouthwash and when to use a new toothbrush.

The researchers used a survey with nine multiple-choice questions. The questionnaire was displayed on Brush DJ as a pop-up notification. When asked how often they brush their teeth, 77 percent of those surveyed said twice daily. The respondents were also asked about why Brush DJ helps, with the most frequent answer saying the app provides motivation.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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How to FLOSS

  1. Pull 18 to 24 inches of dental floss from the floss dispenser.

  2. Wrap the ends of the floss around your index and middle fingers.

  3. Hold the floss tightly around each tooth in a C shape; move the floss back and forth in a push-pull motion and up and down against the side of each tooth.

How to BRUSH

  1. Place the toothbrush at a 45°angle along the gum line. Move the toothbrush in a back and forth motion, and repeat for each tooth.

  2. Brush the inside surface of each tooth, using the same back and forth technique.

  3. Brush the chewing surface (top) of each tooth.

  4. Use tip of brush to brush behind each tooth — front and back, top and bottom and up and down strokes.

  5. Be sure to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria.