Does using an intelligent toothbrush make for healthy gums?
PD Dr. Kristina Bertl, PhD MSc MBA
In a previous article (Using smart phones in prophylaxis) we discussed the possible advantages of mHealth, the use of mobile electronic devices in healthcare, for dentistry. Tonetti et. al have just published a new study on this topic in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, about the use of an intelligent electric toothbrush in combination with a mobile app.
A population of 100 patients, who were all in periodontal maintenance therapy, were given an intelligent electric toothbrush (Genius Power Toothbrush, D701, Oral-B, Germany) and an introduction to the associated mobile app.
This app was used to record the following data:
- Date and time of tooth brushing session
- Duration of brushing
- Frequency and duration of overpressure during brushing
- Gingival bleeding after/during brushing
- Frequency of interdental cleaning
Of these 100 patients, 17 could not be convinced to use the app, and for another eight patients, fewer than ten brushing sessions were recorded. This means that, in total, one in four patients could not get used to this type of mHealth.
The following interesting data were gathered for the remaining 75 patients:
- The average duration of brushing was 2 minutes 58 seconds
- On average, overpressure was recorded almost twice per brushing session.
- Patients reported additional interdental cleaning for around 60% of brushing sessions.
- A more frequent use of the app correlated with lower plaque values at the next check-up appointment.
- The frequency of gingival bleeding after/during brushing correlated with the level of clinical inflammation at the next check-up appointment.
This last point in particular is interesting and could be used in future to tailor the interval of check-ups to the individual, in the sense that patients who experience more frequent bleeding during brushing should have their next check-up appointment sooner.
- Tonetti MS, Deng K, Christiansen A, et al. Self-reported bleeding on brushing as a predictor of bleeding on probing: Early observations from the deployment of an internet of things network of intelligent power-driven toothbrushes in a supportive periodontal care population. J Clin Periodontol. 2020;47:1219–1226.