Effect of automated messaging on oral hygiene in adolescent orthodontic patients: A randomized controlled trial.
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OBJECTIVE: To determine whether automated text messages sent daily to adolescent orthodontic patients improves oral hygiene more than weekly reminders. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A blinded, prospective, randomized controlled trial was designed to evaluate the effects of automated messages on oral hygiene. Subjects were recruited from patients undergoing orthodontic treatment at the Texas A&M University College of Dentistry, Department of Orthodontics. They were being treated with a variety of fixed full appliances in both arches. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a once-a-week text message group or a daily text message group. There were 52 females and 27 males who were 12 to 17 years of age. Oral hygiene was measured at the beginning of the study and again 8.6 0.9 weeks later. RESULTS: The daily reminder group (N = 42) had significantly greater improvements in oral hygiene compliance than the weekly reminder group (N = 37). The daily score decreases were 48%, 21% and 19% for the bleeding index (BI), plaque index (PI), and gingival index (GI), respectively. The weekly score decreases were 27%, 14% and 13% for the BI, PI, and GI. There were no sex differences in hygiene changes during the study. The 42% of patients who completed the survey at the end of the study wanted more frequent messages and reported that messages related to decreasing treatment time were the most effective, while those related to oral hygiene were the least effective. CONCLUSIONS: Daily text messages are more effective at improving oral hygiene than weekly text messages.