In New Zealand, a pilot program has been texting people with reminders to brush their teeth. The goal of the program is to try to improve tooth brushing among young adults who are currently receiving health benefits from the government. And, it seems to have worked. Should this be instituted more widely?
Modeled from Smoking Cessation
The New Zealand program ran for ten weeks in an attempt to determine whether the texts would improve brushing rates among people receiving medical and dental benefits. They noted that smoking cessation texts had worked well and trying to emulate the program. People were sent a daily text reminding people to brush their teeth and respond whether they had or had not done so. At the beginning of the program, only 53% reported brushing their teeth, but at the end, 73% said they had.
Of course, we don’t know the actual numbers for tooth brushing, and there’s no evidence yet of whether oral health had improved among these young adults.
Not everyone was pleased with the program. A spokesman from the NZ Council for Civil Liberties commented: “Badgering unemployed people in this way intrudes on their basic civil rights.”
A Program for California?
Recently California re-instituted dental benefits as part of its Medicaid program, Medi-Cal. Perhaps utilizing some similar program might be able to reduce costs of providing these benefits. After all, brushing your teeth daily reduces the need for costly dental procedures. It might also reduce the cost of other medical expenses, such as treatment for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. Experiments could establish whether texts should continue indefinitely or whether a short period of texts could inculcate the habit.
And, of course, this isn’t just a concern for people on Medicaid. Not brushing your teeth leads to gum disease, the leading cause of receding gums. Of course, aggressive toothbrushing can also cause receding gums, so some proper instruction in technique may also be in order.
A Lesson Learned Too Late?
But what about people who didn’t learn the importance of tooth brushing until too late? If you have suffered receding gums, we have a nonsurgical receding gums treatment that can help. For nonsurgical treatment of receding gums in Beverly Hills, call 310-275-5325, or call (949) 551-5902 in Orange County.