Interactive dental care fosters better oral health, according to the majority of respondents in a recent survey by DentaVox. Generally, interactive oral care refers to the use of dental mobile applications, smart toothbrushes, online communication with dentists or other services that incorporate the real-time exchange of information with the patient.

Survey respondents acknowledge the benefits of interactive dental care and half of them are using healthcare apps in general. Furthermore, one-third of the survey participants report that they already have experience with dental apps in particular. Assistance with dental care habits is their most common use case. For the majority of respondents, the most important apps’ function is to turn the dreaded oral hygiene routines such as toothbrushing into a game and thus to make them more enjoyable.

The infographic below illustrates more insights from the survey on:

Interactive oral care original V

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The use of mobile apps to improve oral health

According to the survey results, the share of respondents who use dental apps to monitor or improve their oral health is still quite modest. 13% of participants have experience with dental apps and additionally, 18% have tried both dental and general health apps.

Although not pervasive at the moment, it seems that dental apps are taking their place as a tool to boost oral health. A previous study confirms that dental app users report perceived improvement in oral health. Other research shows promising results of their application in oral health educational programs.

Dentacare is an example of a dental companion app that helps patients establish and stick to proper oral hygiene habits. It has been used by 33 000 users already and it will be interesting to measure its impact on patient’s oral health in the future.

Areas of application of dental apps

Apps that assist with dental care routines are the most popular means of engaging in interactive oral care, adopted by 85% of users. In contrast, only 33% of interactive dental care users are communicating with their dentist via an app and just 20% have a smart toothbrush paired with an app.

These results are not surprising. Oral hygiene apps are easier to adopt since they are used independently and do not involve other costs. Applications that include patient-dentist interactions engage both sides and this is likely to slow down their adoption. Regarding paired devices, the relatively high cost of smart toothbrushes may be the reason for the small share of users.

How mobile apps make oral care more enjoyable

It doesn’t come as a surprise that respondents look at interactive oral care as a way to make hygiene routines more fun. The gamification of activities is recognized as the primary way to do that. It is followed closely by connection with social media and the use of VR.

It seems natural that people seek to make routines more enjoyable with the help of apps. However, earlier research shows that few apps implement it in practice. For instance, only 4% of the top-rated healthcare apps incorporate gamification tactics. Although it doesn’t refer specifically to dental apps, this indicates a mismatch between user expectations and the current market. Taking this into account, Dentacoin’s new app, Jaws of Battle provides a prime example of using gamification to help kids learn more and develop healthy dental care habits.

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