For one San Diego dentist, fighting dental-related diseases stretches beyond the office. Kami Hoss, the owner of the Super Dentists, which has several offices throughout the region, recently unveiled a singing toothbrush equipped with augmented reality with the hopes that it will encourage children to brush their teeth and for longer periods.
Dubbed “The Super Toothbrush,” the device uses technology that generates images into the real world. For example, when paired with the VIVARRA Dental App, a character named Tooth Keri pops out of a sticker on the toothbrush that will remind children how to brush and floss their teeth. The toothbrush also plays music that encourages children to brush longer.
Hoss, who worked with a dental product manufacturer and augmented reality software company, said he created the product because dental tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children.
“Poor oral health impacts children’s physical, psychological health, their growth and development and even their longevity,” Hoss said. “Getting kids excited about brushing and creating a consistent oral health care routine is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay which will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”
The disease is four times more common than childhood obesity, five times more common than asthma and 20 times more common than diabetes, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Research from the Delta Dental Children’s Health Survey also shows 35 percent of children brush their teeth less than twice a day, 45 percent brush their teeth for less than a minute, and 48 percent never floss at all.
With those staggering statistics in mind, Hoss said he was determined to create a product to help children brush their teeth. He also hopes the toothbrush will help parents who struggle with getting their children to brush their teeth.
But, there are other challenges too.
“Some of the tooth brushing challenges include kids and parents not knowing how long to brush and not developing good habits, like brushing two times a day and flossing every day,” Hoss said. “Children and even adults also don’t have good information on correct brushing/flossing techniques.
“Additionally, there is a misconception that cavities is just a small hole in a tooth that the dentist can just fill so parents and children don’t take it as seriously as they should. Unfortunately, cavities are a result of a bacterial imbalance that can be a sign of other serious health issues in the body and our microbiome in general.”
Hoss offered the following tips for parents on how to make brushing teeth fun:
- Pick out a fun toothbrush or let kids pick out their favorite characters
- Use a tooth brushing song to help make sure kids brush for a full two minutes (the recommended length of time)
- Supervise children’s brushing until there is confidence that it’s being done correctly
- Model tooth brushing and/or brush your own teeth with your child
- Let kids brush your teeth or let them brush their stuffed animal or doll’s teeth
Originally featured on Times of San Diego. Click here for original article.