The influence of text messaging on oral hygiene effectiveness

Angle Orthod. 2015 Jul;85(4):543-8. doi: 10.2319/071514-495.1. Epub 2014 Oct 24.


Objective: To investigate whether text message reminders regarding oral hygiene have an effect on plaque removal in orthodontic patients.

Materials and methods: In this randomized, controlled clinical trial, 50 orthodontic patients were assigned to either a text message or control group. Patients in the text message group received 12 text messages over the course of 4 weeks and one text message for 8 weeks thereafter. Photos were taken at baseline (T0), at 4 weeks after baseline (T1), and at 12 weeks after baseline (T2). For each subject, photos of eight teeth were taken and then the area of the tooth and amount of plaque were measured using planimetry.

Results: There was a statistically significant difference in plaque coverage between baseline and both T1 and T2 in the text message group as measured using planimetry. This was demonstrated by comparing the average measurements of the control group and the treatment group.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the use of automated text message reminders sent from an orthodontic office was effective in improving oral hygiene compliance in orthodontic patients.

Keywords: Oral hygiene; Planimetry; Plaque; Text message.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Dental Plaque / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Male
  • Oral Hygiene*
  • Orthodontic Brackets
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Photography, Dental / methods
  • Reminder Systems*
  • Text Messaging*
  • Toothbrushing / methods