Smartphones and tooth brushing: content analysis of the current available mobile health apps for motivation and training

Abstract

Introduction

Smartphone mobile app is an innovative concept for health behaviour‐based interventions.

Aim

The present study aimed to analyse apps developed for smartphones that promote tooth brushing amongst children using the Coventry, Aberdeen, and London-Refined (CALO-RE) taxonomy for behaviour change.

Materials and methods

Tooth brushing apps available in English and free to download that purported to assist with brushing were searched on the Apple app store using search terms based on Boolean logic and included AND combinations for keywords tooth brushing, children, toothbrush and motivation in the health and fitness category; six apps met the inclusion criteria and were downloaded. The behaviour change taxonomies were assessed individually for each app and scored as per coding and analysed for presence or absence.

Results

Only three of the behaviour change taxonomies were present in all apps, i.e. information provision (general), goal setting (behaviour) and prompt practice. Setting graded tasks, self-monitoring of behavioural outcome, demonstration of behaviour, prompt use of imagery and time management were included in four out of six apps.

Conclusion

The present study explores a new arena for oral healthcare motivation and prevention in children through the use of mobile phone apps.
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