Dental app makes brushing teeth fun

A smartphone application called Brush DJ has proved successful in getting children to adopt and maintain an effective oral health care routine.

Launched in 2011, the app plays music for two minutes to a song from the user’s playlist and encourages children to brush their teeth for the optimal time. The app also reminds users to spit out after brushing, instead of rinsing. Other features include reminders to brush twice a day, use mouthwash, sets alerts for dental appointments and reminders users to change their toothbrush once every three months.

“I think the Brush DJ app is great,” says Dr. Kelly Kirtland, a pediatric dentist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “It motivates children, teens and adults to brush for the recommended two minutes while listening to their favorite music, it was developed by a dentist, and best of all, it’s free.”

Using the data from more than 197,000 downloads in 188 countries, Brush DJ  showed that the evidence-based techniques worked.

The research, published in the British Dental Journal, showed that 70 percent of respondents reported their teeth felt cleaner since using the tool. It also found that 88 percent of respondents said they were more motivated to brush their teeth longer using Brush DJ. And, 90 percent said they would recommend the app to their family and friends.

“Brush DJ showed positive effects across four main themes – motivation, education, compliance and perceived benefits,” dentist and app developer Ben Underwood said in a news release. “The results of our study indicate that apps such as Brush DJ are beneficial to users and open the way for further research to extend their use and effectiveness further.”

Dr. Kirtland also provides these helpful tips for better oral health:

  • Electric Toothbrush: Studies have proven that those who use an electric toothbrush are more likely to have a better teeth clean.
  • Get involved: I strongly encourage parental involvement. It is important for a child to learn how to brush their teeth first and develop the right technique and then have parents go over areas that they’ve missed.
  • Flossing: It’s a vital part to cleaning areas that brushing has missed and can help decrease cavities in between the teeth and decrease gingivitis. I have found that parents and children like floss picks because they are easy to maneuver and get to those hard to reach places in your mouth.

Study leaders added that cavities and other dental health conditions are ultimately preventable, and the great thing about an app such as Brush DJ is that it has a positive effect for children.

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