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How can a simple app encourage patients to use interdental brushes?

Prevention should be a cornerstone of dentistry, but explaining the importance of proper oral care and the dangers of bleeding gums to patients can be challenging for dental professionals. It becomes much easier when they can actually show the patient some visible proof. Dentist Hugo Lewgoy and dental hygienist Sabina Floridia explain how the BOB-app, a monitoring tool by Prevention One, inspires patients to improve their oral hygiene routines.

Professor Hugo Lewgoy: “Thanks to the BOB-App, the patients understand gum inflammation and its easy recovery.”

Hugo Lewgoy is a professor in restorative dentistry and biomaterials in dentistry, and also a co-CEO & Partner of Curaden in Brazil. As Prevention One specialist, he was responsible for launching the BOB-App in Brazil in October 2019. He considers the BOB-App as a “fantastic tool that can be a tremendous differential for all dentistry specialists.”

The BOB-App is only part of a bigger movement to improve prevention in the field of oral health. Although dentistry today is much more advanced, and dentists more highly specialized, Doctor Lewgoy believes prevention is still a bit underestimated.

“We are able to perform very difficult and complex restorative treatments, and patients have been benefiting from this. However, oral prevention has not been performed with the same competence and professionalism. It is imperative for oral prevention to be performed with the same professionalism as restorative treatments, because oral diseases (caries and gum disease) are capable of causing or worsening systemic diseases.”

He believes there is one important reason why this needs to change: “Our mouth is the main gateway to a huge range of pathogens. Those who do not have healthy mouths are also less likely to have healthy bodies, so our main focus in dentistry should fall 100% in oral prevention.” 

“The incidence of oral diseases in populations all over the world has reached alarming levels. It is really shameful for us as dental professionals. We really have to explain to our patients that the accumulation of the oral biofilm is very dangerous for their overall health, and also show them effective and atraumatic methods for the disruption of the oral biofilm.“

“Dental professionals are the people who should help patients to choose the best possible tools. Everybody uses a toothbrush, and we just have to show and convince people which kind of toothbrush is best for removing the biofilm effectively. However, in relation to interdental brushes, this perception is not so evident, because the majority of people do not use interdentals and do not have any parameter to compare them with. So, the BOB-Score generated by the app can be used as a motivational tool that can help us a lot in this work.”

According to the Brazilian dentist, this simple app makes it possible for every dentist or dental hygienist to more easily teach their patients about the importance of using interdental brushes.

“In my opinion, the two most important benefits are the active participation of the patients that really involve themselves in the process of oral hygiene, and the ability to show the patients their gum inflammation rate and how easily it can be improved by following our recommendations,” Dr Lewgoy says.

Hugo Lewgoy and his team have been using and teaching about this new monitoring software by Curaden’s Prevention One for a couple of months. In the first month alone, almost 300 patients were tested and scored. So far, they have received only positive feedback: “The dentists are really delighted and very satisfied with the first results. They have reported that patients actually get more involved and are willing to assume more responsibility for their own oral hygiene with the use of interdental brushes.”

According to Dr. Lewgoy, the app is a great motivator, because the patients feel informed and involved from the beginning.

“When we do the BOB-Score, the patients hold a tablet in their hands and do all the markings – what colors of interdental brushes they need, the areas between teeth where bleeding has been noticed – of course with the guidance of the dentist or dental hygienist. This creates an environment of participation, and patients become very motivated because they truly feel part of the whole process,” Dr Lewgoy explains.

Sabina Floridia: “Patients are more curious about their mouth and ask more questions when we use BOB-App”

Sabina Floridia works as a dental hygienist in northern Italy’s city of Bergamo. She first tried BOB-App in October 2018, following which she joined the Curaden Prevention One team as a specialist for training professionals in other countries.

As a dental hygienist, Sabina gained hands-on experience using the BOB-App with the patients in her office. “Patients are more curious about their mouth and they ask more questions about their situation and what they should do. They also listen more actively to instructions and really want to use the interdental brush right, because they finally understand the importance of interdental cleaning,” she says.

Sabina is a professional who always tries to educate and motivate her patients with new ideas and approaches. She has set up a prevention programme for kids and she creates video lessons explaining oral care. She confesses that she likes to be considered by her patients as “an expert who is always up to date,” and says the Prevention One software helps her with that.

“The BOB-App makes me stand out from the crowd. I must say that the BOB-App also gives me a new goal and a fresh approach to communicating and working differently after more than 20 years of experience.”

Sabina uses the BOB-App daily, so she’s helped many patients assess their BOB-Scores, always with positive feedback. 

“New patients say that nobody has ever dedicated so much time for instruction and motivation. With this app, you have one point from which the patient can start improving his or her oral care. It’s even measurable in a way a patient can easily understand,” Sabina says about her experience.

The dental hygienist says it also works well with long-time patients. “I have some patients who I have known for years, but somehow they did not follow all my recommendations and neglected interdental cleaning. The BOB-App gives me the possibility of a new approach to make patients understand the importance of using interdental brushes. The outcome with these patients is really surprising.”

Sabina Floridia admits that prevention is easy in theory, but much more difficult in practice: “Many people avoid prevention, and look for excuses like blaming genetics or saying that their gums are just sensitive and will always bleed. Often, when we talk about proper tooth brushing, the patient sees it as too much work, or not necessary. Unfortunately, it’s still normal to have caries and periodontal disease. And if a patient loses a tooth, the dentist will resolve the problem. But nothing is better than having your own teeth in a healthy mouth.”

Sabina describes the use of BOB-App as a very effective way of communicating with the patient and helping them see more value in the role of a dental hygienist. “When the patients get a BOB-Score that’s not so good, the dental hygienist becomes the person who can help to improve the bad score. Patients are more open to suggestions, and to our tell-show-do method, along with iTOP philosophy.”

According to Sabina, it is not only up to patients. Dental hygienists also need to perceive themselves as professionals who are trained to do prevention. “Let’s restart from there, and do less scraping tartar and more prevention,” she says.

5 advantages of using the BOB-App for you and your patients

  1. Patients feel more involved in the process of oral hygiene because they physically hold the tablet and enter the necessary data into the app on their own.
  2. As a measurable metric, the BOB-App’s Gum Inflammation Rate feature helps patients to better understand the need for interdental cleaning.
  3. The BOB-Score motivates patients to monitor their own progress in inflammation recovery.
  4. This modern tool helps to reinforce the perception of the dental professional as someone who is always up to date on current trends and treatments.
  5. Patients become more accepting of a dental hygienist’s advice and instructions for improving a lower score.

Introduce BOB to your patients!

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