Parents, take note! A fun dental hygiene app encourages children to adopt and maintain an effective oral health care routine using evidence-based techniques.
The app called Brush DJ was launched at the end of 2011 and in 2013 it was accepted into the UK National Health Service (NHS) Choices Health Apps Library.
By February 2015 Brush DJ, which is free with no advertisements or in-app purchases, had been downloaded on more than 197,000 devices in 188 countries. It can be used with any type of toothbrush, its makers said.
The app plays music for two minutes – the optimum time for brushing teeth – taken from a playlist or randomly from the user’s own device or cloud.
As well as encouraging tooth brushing for two minutes, it also reminds users to spit out after brushing but not to rinse, sets reminders to brush twice a day, use a mouthwash at other non-brushing times of the day, sets alerts for dental appointments and reminders to change toothbrushes once every three months. Fundamentally, it makes brushing teeth fun for youngsters.
A research on the app showed that 70 per cent of respondents reported their teeth felt cleaner since using the app and 88 per cent said that Brush DJ had motivated them to brush their teeth for longer.
Ninety per cent said they would recommend the app to their friends and family, researchers said.
The team concluded that not only had Brush DJ contributed to greater motivation for young people to care for their teeth more effectively, but it also has huge potential as a way to convey important oral health messages and information.
“Brush DJ showed positive effect across four main themes – motivation, education, compliance and perceived benefits,” Ben Underwood, dentist, app developer, NHS Innovation Accelerator Fellow and Honorary University Fellow at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, said.
“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 still further,” said Underwood, who led the study.
“Caries and other dental health conditions are ultimately preventable, and the great thing about an app such as Brush DJ is that we can show that it has a positive effect for children,” said Elizabeth Kay, Foundation Dean of the Peninsula Dental School from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.
The research was published in the British Dental Journal.