Can a smartphone application help Americans of all ages be proactive about their dental and oral health? Some software developers clearly think so, and several companies have already created dental health and teeth-related apps to test that theory.
Let’s look at some facts. In the U.S., at least 20% of American adults ages 20 to 64 have not stepped foot in a dentist’s office for more than five years. Many Americans leave misaligned or crooked teeth untreated, even though this can result in premature tooth loss and mild to severe periodontal disease down the line. To top it all off, over 30 million Americans are missing teeth in at least one jaw — and sometimes in both. Here are just a few of the smartphone apps trying to do something about it.
Texts Alerts… From The Dentist?
That’s right. Soon, the best dentists and local dentists may send text alerts to patients to politely remind them about their dental health routine. In other words, you can easily expect texts that say, “Have you brushed and flossed today?” Unfortunately, some of the first text alerts along these lines (sent out in New Zealand) have sparked some controversy. While they have proved wildly successful — brushing increased by 20%! — the New Zealand alerts currently target welfare patients only, and some view them as discriminatory.
Interactive Games Stem Children’s Fear Of The Dentist
General dentists are seeing younger patients more consistently, thanks to some creative and inventive smartphone applications. The children’s apps take all kinds of different angles — using interactive dentist-themed games to nip fears of the dentist in the bud or even using Disney character-themed timers to make sure kids brush thoroughly.
Does the answer to better dental and oral health in the U.S. lie in our smartphones? Some developers and even some of the best dentists seem to think so. Today, apps can help you remember to brush your teeth, find a good dentist, get your kids to the dentist, or even verify general and cosmetic dentistry costs.