ABSTRACT

Objectives

To assess the extent to which text messages on WhatsApp play a role in patient awareness of the importance of proper oral hygiene and flossing on a daily basis and to test the null hypothesis that daily text messages do not influence the flossing habits of orthodontics patients.

Materials and Methods

Forty-four patients wearing fixed orthodontic appliances with a mean age of 14.3 years participated in the study. Patients (male and female) were randomly assigned to two groups (n = 22): group 1, text messages sent via WhatsApp daily during the study period, and group 2 (control), no text messages received. Plaque index, gingival bleeding index, and halitosis were assessed at baseline and after 30 days. The results were analyzed and subjected to normality test, McNemar test, Fisher exact test, Mann-Whitney test, and Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

Results

There was a significant influence on flossing habits (P < .05) and a significant reduction in plaque and gingival bleeding indices in group 1 (P < .05). Group 1 had a significant reduction in halitosis (P < .05).

Conclusions

Daily text messages seem to influence patient awareness of the importance of proper oral hygiene and flossing. The null hypothesis was rejected because those patients who received text messages every day changed their flossing habits.

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Author notes

a

Master Student, Postgraduate Orthodontic Program, Dental School, University Center of Hermínio Ometto Foundation (FHO), Araras, São Paulo; and Professor, Northeast Independent College (FAINOR), Vitória da Conquista, Bahia, Brazil.

b

Professor, Northeast Independent College (FAINOR), Vitória da Conquista, Bahia, Brazil.

c

Collaborating Professor, Postgraduate Orthodontic Program, Dental School, University Center of Hermínio Ometto Foundation (FHO), Araras, São Paulo, Brazil.

d

Professor of Orthodontics, Southwest Bahia State University (UESB), Jequié, Bahia; and Permanent Professor, Postgraduate Program, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

e

Professor, Postgraduate Orthodontic Program, Dental School, University Center of Hermínio Ometto Foundation, (FHO), Araras, São Paulo, Brazil.