Top 5 Dental Apps for Patients

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Need help figuring out if you have a problem with your teeth, gums or another area of your mouth? Want to encourage your children to brush more or to brush for longer? You know what they say – these days, there's an app for that. Dental apps for patients can help you improve your brushing technique, encourage healthy dental habits in your kids and help you learn more about possible oral health concerns. To make things even better, many of these apps are available for free, either online or on Apple or Android devices.

1. ADA Symptom Checker

In 2013, the American Dental Association launched the ADA Symptom Checker. Although initially available as dental apps for patients on both iTunes and Google Play, the symptom checker is now a web-based app that you can use on a browser on either a mobile or desktop device. The program isn't designed to diagnose a condition and shouldn't replace a visit to your dentist, but it can provide you with more details on possible conditions based on the symptoms you describe.

2. Colgate Connect

If you've ever wondered if you're brushing the right way, the Colgate Connect app might be right for you. The app works with the Colgate Connect E1 toothbrush. It is designed by dentists, scientists and users like you to create the ultimate clean with the combination of:

  • Sonic vibrations
  • Mouth-mapping technology
  • Real-time feedback
  • Brush coaching

When you brush using the E1 toothbrush, the app creates a map of your teeth and offers tips and coaching to help you improve your brushing technique. There's also a game, "Go Pirate," which is designed to make brushing more fun. Currently, Colgate Connect is available for iOS (Apple) devices, but an Android app is in the works.

3. My Bright Smile

Part of the Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program, the My Bright Smile app won the Best App for Children and Toddlers awardsfrom Best Mobile App Awards. Available for iOS and Android, the app includes a two-minute timer to encourage kids to brush for the recommended amount of time. It also has five games that teaches kids how to brush, the importance of dentist visits, and helps them identify which foods can cause damage to their teeth.

4. Toothsavers

Another app for kids, the Toothsavers app turns brushing into a game. Every time a child brushes for two minutes while playing the app, they have a chance to unlock a new "toothsaver" character. After a month of brushing twice daily, for two minutes each time, kids will have the opportunity to face off against the villain of the game, an evil sorceress. The app's parent section lets you monitor your kid's brushing status and set up a calendar for brushing.

5. Chompers

Chompers is technically not an app, but a podcast designed to keep you (and your kids) entertained while you brush. The podcast features stories, songs and jokes, and each episode lasts for two minutes (the right amount of time for brushing). A new episode is available twice a day.

Along with entertaining everyone in your family during tooth brushing time, the podcast also keeps track of how often you use it and offers rewards for brushing streaks. It's available on Apple podcasts, Alexa, Spotify and several other podcast services.

While dental apps can help you improve your family's oral care routine at home, remember that they aren't a substitute for regular dental visits. Regular dental checkups combined with a good at-home dental hygiene routine will help you enjoy a healthy, happy smile for years to come.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.