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News / September 14, 2016

Selfies could improve toothbrushing habit

by Guy Hiscott

Selfies have been shown to improve the effectiveness of toothbrushing in a small pilot study.

A group of dentists and researchers from India and the USA performed a proof-of-concept study to track the effectiveness of toothbrushing with taking a photo of themselves on their smartphone (a ‘selfie’).

Indian dental students recorded five toothbrushing selfies on their phones over two weeks, after they were given a one-time toothbrushing training session.

The dentist researchers noted several changes and variations in the quality and accuracy of toothbrushing over time.

‘These changes may suggest that participants were trying to create a new habit, trying to change their behaviour, almost as if, while taking the selfie, someone was watching them,’ wrote Lance Vernon, senior instructor at Case Western Reserve University and one of the researchers, in The Conversation, an independent source for news online.


The researchers believe participants were more self-conscious of their toothbrushing behaviour while recording their habit, while at the same time ‘may have had more fun or been more curious about doing a sometimes mundane task’.

Lance added: ‘An application of the toothbrushing selfie is that technology could be used to evaluate, monitor and permit providers to give real-time, convenient oral hygiene feedback to people across periods of time.

‘Future studies could allow individuals to review their own toothbrushing and critique themselves, and providers could “chime in” with positive comments and suggestions at regular intervals. This could help us understand how behaviour change works and what approaches work best for whom.’

Read the full article on The Conversation.