Can a Selfie Help Your Teeth?

Can a Selfie Help Your Teeth?

May 24, 2018 General Dentistry

In today’s world, almost everything is recorded via photos or videos. From Snapchat filters to going live on Instagram, we’ve begun to live our lives through a lens. Did you know taking a selfie might help your dental health?

It sounds crazy, but there are potential benefits, though they may be complicated.

A small, recent study done by three dentists from India and another from the United States examined how taking video selfie could help people learn how to brush their teeth properly. Initially, they did a proof-of-concept study, to see if this idea was worth studying further.

The researchers provided Indian dental students with a one-time lesson on how to brush their teeth. For the following two weeks, the students recorded themselves in a total of five toothbrushing selfie videos. These videos were reviewed and then deeply analyzed for the participant’s accuracy in toothbrushing. They found changes in the quality, which suggests that the participants were trying to establish new brushing habits. It almost seemed as if someone was watching the participants, making them more self-conscious about their ingrained brushing habits. They also could’ve been more interested in trying new techniques since they were being filmed.

Changing a habit is difficult. For example, the participants needed to overcome the muscle memory of how they’ve always brushed their teeth. Retraining one’s self for a new technique is a gradual process that usually comes with time. For the most part, this data supports this idea, but also shows that adding the selfie factor could help people learn new tricks.


Brushing Your Teeth is Important

Maybe you’re running late and trying to rush out the door or too tired to move from bed. You might ask yourself, ‘Do I really need to brush my teeth?’ You may even convince yourself that it’s unnecessary to brush so often, but you are wrong. Oral health impacts your overall health and wellness. Maintaining proper hygiene through toothbrushing and flossing helps prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other harm from coming to your mouth.

After eating and drinking, plaque can build up on the surface of your teeth, and if left untouched can form into hardened tartar that only a dentist can remove. Cavities often occur between your teeth where bacteria and food particles or trapped. In both scenarios, it’s important to brush and floss to rid yourself of possible tooth pain and an unnecessary trip to the dentist.

Effective toothbrushing removes these bacteria and debris, which is why it’s important to make sure you are using the right technique.

How Do I Brush My Teeth?

This question may seem silly to some, but a majority of people are brushing their teeth incorrectly. Patients can hear a variety of advice from dentists and the like. While there is no one best method, there are certain techniques to make your brushing effective.

Using a soft-bristled toothbrush make small gentle circles on each tooth. The bristles should be at a 45-degree angle so that the tooth is meeting the gum tissue. Hold your toothbrush with a pencil grip–not too much force, which can wear away the enamel and damage your gums, but not too soft either so as to be ineffective.

Pay attention and make sure you are hitting all of the tooth’s surfaces. Many people often forget to brush the insides of their teeth, and it’s important not to miss! Brush for two minutes, spending around 30 seconds on each surface. Also, don’t forget to brush your tongue which traps bacteria that can linger in your mouth!

Future studies could show the benefits of encouraging individuals to record and review their own toothbrushing habits. This idea could allow both patients and dentists to correct any issues with toothbrushing to make sure they’re doing the proper approach.

While this initial study was small, it is a step towards using selfies for good by analyzing them and promoting better oral care, giving dentists something to smile about.

If you would like a refresher in toothbrushing or a check up on the current condition of your teeth, then contact Al Berger, DDS today. He is your local dentist in Oakdale and can be reached by phone at 631-589-2600.

About the author

Dr. Al Berger: