Researchers found that participants in a study who filmed their brushing at home — using phones propped up on stands — had increased accuracy on their brush strokes, more strokes per session and an overall eight percent improvement in "tooth-brushing skill." Participants did not brush their teeth for any longer than usual, however.
As a population, we're apparently pretty bad at brushing our teeth the proper way, even if we have the desire to have pearly whites.
"Often, tooth-brushing is learned and practiced without proper supervision," Lance T. Vernon, a senior instructor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and co-author of the study, said in a press release. "Changing tooth brushing behaviors — which are ingrained habits tied to muscle memory — can take a lot of time and guidance."
That's where the selfies come in. If you record how you're brushing your teeth, it's far easier to see what you're doing wrong. It's like a very boring version of an NFL quarterback watching film of past games to improve in the next matchup.
"Our study suggests that, in the future, recording these selfies can help shift some of this time investment in improving brushing to technology," said Vernon. "Patients can then receive feedback from dental professionals."
Filming a brushing session also might make people more conscious of their habits, which is useful when trying to ingrain the proper form for brushing teeth. According to the study, by the way, you want to brush in a circular motion, use a 45-degree angle while brushing facial surfaces of teeth and position your arm correctly (theses were some of the criteria for the "tooth-brushing skill" metric).
This comes on the heels of the major news that flossing might not be the key oral healthcare tool most have assumed. The federal government removed flossing from its dietary guidelines after the Associated Press inquired about a lack of real evidence that it actually does anything.