Many dentists recommend brushing your teeth in front of the mirror to ensure that you don’t miss any spots. It makes sense that seeing your toothbrush would help you get every spot, but how about hearing your brush?

That’s exactly what researchers in Japan claim to have discovered: different brushing sounds can lead to more effective oral hygiene.

beautiful woman looking in the mirror in her bathroom, brushing her teeth

Altering Toothbrush Sounds

This admittedly bizarre experiment begins with a basic problem: toothbrushing is seen as a boring chore that no one would willingly do were it not for the threat that not brushing teeth could lead to cavities and tooth loss that would require fillings or a dental implant.

Researchers hoped to change this by turning brushing into a positive experience on its own so that people would choose to brush their teeth rather than feeling forced to do so. In the process, people who were entertained by brushing their teeth would do a better job.

Researchers came up with the idea that sound could be used to provide the reward in this instance, so they equipped a special toothbrush with a microphone that could capture the sound of tooth brushing. Researchers sampled this sound and fed it to the volunteers who wore headphones while brushing their teeth. By changing this sound, they found they could not only improve the effectiveness of toothbrushing, but also the satisfaction people got from the experience.

They found that, strangely, increasing the frequency of the toothbrushing sounds as brushing progressed made people feel like the process was more comfortable and more effective–they thought their teeth were cleaner.

To avoid potential damage to teeth, the toothbrush was equipped with a sensor that would warn the user if teeth were being brushed too hard.

Whatever It Takes

The lack of positive reward at the moment of tooth brushing does present a significant barrier to motivation. Unfortunately, too many people don’t take their oral hygiene seriously enough, which is part ot the reason why gum disease is so prevalent and tooth decay remains common, although tooth loss rates continue to decline.

If we can find new ways to motivate ourselves to brush more regularly and properly, it could really help improve oral health. Also important is having a good relationship with a local dentist that can help with hygiene and with monitoring your oral health. If you are looking for a dentist in Wilmington, NC, please call (910) 392-6060 for an appointment at Kuzma Advanced Dentistry.