Recording smartphone video ‘selfies’ of tooth brushing can help people learn to improve their oral healthcare techniques, according to a new study published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research.
Using smartphones propped on stands, study participants filmed their brushing. Researchers saw an increase in the accuracy of brush strokes, an increase in number of strokes and an overall 8% improvement in tooth-brushing skill. The length of time a person brushed did not change.
Some people do not brush their teeth properly and opportunities to improve such skills can be few. Lance T. Vernon, co-author of the study said: “Often, tooth brushing is learned and practiced without proper supervision. Changing tooth brushing behaviours – which are ingrained habits tied to muscle memory – can take a lot of time and guidance”.
Vernon added: “Our study suggests that, in the future, recording these selfies can help shift some of this time investment in improving brushing to technology. Patients can then receive feedback from dental professionals”.
The very act of recording a selfie may disrupt ingrained habits, making participants conscious of their brushing and reinforce staples of behaviour change, including the process of memory formation, association and creating new muscle memory.
Before the study, participants’ brushing habits were assessed and corrected until each were able to demonstrate proper technique. During the study, they were scored on time spent brushing and skill mastery, including brushing in a circular motion, obtaining a 45-degree angle while brushing facial surfaces of teeth and correct positioning of the arm.