Benefiting You

5 high-tech ways to improve your dental hygiene routine

High-tech innovations that help us take care of our health are pretty common these days. Think wearable fitness trackers that sync with data-driven apps. But did you know there are also tech tools to help you take better care of your teeth?

Advances in technology have made dental care more effective and convenient — and in some cases, more fun.

“Technology is ever-evolving and a great benefit to patients in the office and at home,” says New York dentist Dr. Edward Alvarez.

Whether it’s getting kids to brush longer or giving you a dentist-eye view of your mouth, advances in technology are changing dental care. Check out these five tech tools that can help you take better care of your teeth.

1. Connect to your toothbrush via Bluetooth.
You might be wondering why your toothbrush needs Bluetooth, but it turns out that’s a pretty efficient way to communicate with your phone, opening up access to a variety of apps that can help you manage your dental hygiene.

“The best tool I’ve seen is the Bluetooth version of the Sonicare toothbrush,” Alvarez said. Combined with an associated app, the brush lets patients see how well they’re brushing thanks to a location sensor. “It’ll alert you if you’re skipping any teeth or not hitting them well enough.”

These brushes also can help determine if you’re brushing effectively in other ways.

“It lets you know if you’re brushing too hard, which can decrease an electric toothbrush’s efficacy,” Alvarez said. “It’ll even tell you if your brush heads need changing. For patients who have difficulty brushing, who unknowingly may not be brushing long enough or for those who want a healthier mouth, this technology has made the experience more user-friendly and effective.”

2. Subscribe to a healthier mouth.
Picking the best toothbrush subscriptions can be a challenge, because there are a lot of them on the market. Companies such as BrusherClub, Quip and Goby provide an electric toothbrush and a subscription for replacement heads. And companies such as Boka and Morgans offer dental tools and accessories including specialty flosses, toothpastes and mouthwashes.

3. Track yourself with a timer.
It can be a challenge to brush long enough, especially for kids. Oral-B has partnered with Disney to produce the Magic Timer to get children to brush longer. As they brush, the app gradually reveals a Disney picture. Another app, Brush DJ, provides music to brush along with, while Aquafresh Brush Time gamifies brushing by awarding points and letting kids customize the display.

4. Get a closer look with a camera.
Prophix is a “video toothbrush” in development that syncs to an app to give you a better view of your mouth. It lets you take and store photos to share with your dentist to track any changes in gum health. It also tracks brushing performance and displays brushing trends over time.

5. Engineer a better bite through CAD/CAM.

Computer-assisted design and manufacturing have made it easier for dentists to build crowns, bridges and other implants. Not only is CAD more precise, it’s also less invasive — no more trays of modeling compound to bite into and gag on, so patients are more comfortable throughout the procedure.

This post is based on content that first appeared in SmileInSight by Starmount.

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