Selfies Can Improve Your Brushing Technique

Littleton family dentistry

As your Littleton family dentistry, our team at the McGinty Dental Group wants to stress the importance of properly brushing every day. What makes brushing so important is the need to thoroughly remove plaque from the surface of your teeth and along the gum line.

Plaque – a sticky biofilm – uses the foods we consume to produce acids that slowly erode away tooth enamel and cause gum inflammation. This type of inflammation greatly increases your risk of developing gum disease and a host of other chronic diseases that can threaten your oral and overall health.

To properly protect the health of your teeth, it’s important to not only brush but brush using the correct technique as well. Many patients that have developed poor brushing habits over a lifetime can find it challenging when needing to improve how they brush daily. Now, according to the results of a new study, better brushing may have found an unlikely ally – the selfie.

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine have found that individuals who record video selfies of themselves while brushing actually improved their brushing technique.

As part of the study, participants used stands to hold their smartphones in order to film themselves while brushing their teeth. While the amount of time each participant did not change, researchers discovered an 8 percent overall improvement in brushing skill. Researchers noted that the participants brush strokes became more accurate and actually increased in number.

Unfortunately, most people learn how to brush without ever receiving proper instruction or supervision. Over a lifetime, muscle memory builds up, making it very difficult for adults to change their brushing behavior later in life, stated researchers. Generally, a change in brushing technique requires a lot of time and guidance before lasting improvements are recorded.

A More Effective Way to Change

Prior to the study, participants had their current brushing habits assessed to correct any mistakes in their technique. Over the duration of the study, the time spent brushing and on improving brushing technique was noted by researchers. The skills included using a circular motion while brushing, proper arm position, and achieving a 45-degree angle when brushing the surface of teeth.

The study suggested that recording selfies actually helps shift some of the time invested in improving brushing to constructive instruction. By recording themselves, participants were able to receive feedback from oral health professionals about what they were doing correctly and what needed improvement.

Recording themselves while brushing also made participants more self-conscious of their technique and better enabled them to rid themselves of any ingrained habits that may actually harm their long-term oral hygiene.

The use of selfies in the medical world has already become common in other fields, allowing patients to assess and monitor a number of conditions using a method known as mobile health or “mHealth.” However, this study marks the first time researchers used selfie technology to study tooth brushing behavior. Researchers hope that the results of this study may encourage developers to create an app that will provide oral health professionals with the ability to review patient’s oral hygiene.

Improving Your Oral Health

At your Littleton family dentistry, our team at the McGinty Dental Group are always ready and willing to provide our patients with the best brushing techniques for improving and maintaining their oral health. If you have any questions about the best brushing practices, feel free to ask any member of our oral hygiene team during your next visit to our Littleton dental office.