Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of mobile phone applications in improving oral hygiene care and oral health outcomes in patients undergoing fixed orthodontic treatment.
Materials and methods: PUBMED/MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, COCHRANE, PROQUEST, Google Scholar, and Web of Science were systematically searched for original studies published between January 2000 and March 2020. The eligibility criteria being: (i) observational study [cross-sectional, case-control, cohort study, or RCTs] that reported mobile phone application as an intervention or exposure for oral hygiene care. Standard Protocol Items Recommendations for Interventional Trials (SPIRIT) statement was used for quality assessment of interventional studies. The comprehensive search strategy yielded 154 studies after the removal of duplicates. Based on eligibility criteria only 5 studies were included in the data extraction phase.
Results: This review finds that smartphone applications have a significant short term effect in the improvement of oral hygiene when measured using plaque index and gingival index scores. The mean plaque index and gingival index reduced significantly in three out of five studies. The intervention groups [62%] had a lower level of plaque at a 12-week interval as compared to the control group [72%]. Short term follow-ups showed greater improvement in oral hygiene following smartphone application administration.
Conclusion: Within the available evidence, a recommendation can be made for the use of mobile applications in the orthodontic process [oral hygiene] care.
Clinical relevance: Further research for the development of patient-centered applications for patient safety, clinical decision making, and increasing their effectiveness in the treatment of orthodontic patients are required.