While in Boston for this year’s SDL-9 in early March, Dr. Tony Hashemian presented the use of social media in oral health promotion and education. During the five days of training, delegates develop their leadership skills and learn to use them effectively to advance oral health agendas and improve the dental health of children.
The Senior Dental Leaders (SDL) program has held seven annual conferences in London and the USA. Sponsored by Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Global Child Dental Fund and King’s College, it promotes public private partnerships and leadership. Over the years delegates have attended SDL from a variety of countries including China, Malawi, India, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Australia, South Africa, the UK, the USA, Mexico, the Solomon Islands, Canada and more.
Text2Floss text messaging study was the focus of Dr. Tony Hashemian’s presentation on “The use of Social Media in Oral Health Promotion/Education” at the AEEDC in Dubai. He spoke the use of text messages as an easy to use and innovative tool for the global community to promote positive health-related behaviors.
The Text2Floss study examines whether the 7-day text messaging intervention improves the oral health knowledge and behavior of mothers of young children. With this innovative tool, health providers help communicate with their patients anticipating that intervention will raise participants dental IQ, comply with oral health provider’s advice, achieve good oral health and practice overall good oral home care.
Dr. Hashemian also described the Text2Floss as a new method of communication between health provider and patient on the importance of oral health care through private, NGO and nonprofit collaboration. It can also be used as an innovative option for Intra Professional education (IPR).
On February 6, Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation awarded A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) a $25,000 grant to support their Text2Floss initiative. They have teamed together to use Text2Floss, a mobile app which uses phone technology for public health education. This app, designed by ATSU-ASDOH dental professionals, is used to remind patients with a daily text message to floss, brush and rinse every day along with other helpful oral healthcare tips.
The overarching goal of the Delta Dental grant/project is to increase optimal oral health literacy and improve oral heath behaviors among underserved and vulnerable populations, with a focus on pregnant mothers, children, and youth though 18 years of age. Through the use of mobile phone technology for public health education, this partnership will take the Text2Floss user experience to the next level. ASDOH will take its nationally successful preventive program, Text2Floss, to the patients of Arizona’s safety net dental clinics by assigning dental hygienists to various community health center campuses throughout Arizona to introduce the Text2Floss app to patients starting March 2015.
By embracing mobile phone technology for public health education, this innovative project has the ultimate potential to increase patient-provider communication, encourage patients to actively engage in their own oral healthcare, and positively impact access and health outcomes throughout Arizona.
In the first quarter of 2014, the Text2Floss iOS app was released at the Apple Store for free down load. This was made possible by Dentaquest foundation’s Innovation Grant and developed by the Riester company.
During the 2nd quarter, Text2Floss was introduced to the dentists and dental team at the CDA in Anaheim, California followed by participation at the Henry Schein Dream Center in Las Vegas at the annual ADHA meeting.
The Text2floss study was published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry during the 3rd quarter of 2014 followed by participation at the Dentrix Business of Dentistry annual meeting in Las Vegas as a Dentrix G5 certified partner.
During the 4th quarter, Text2Floss participated at the Greater NY Dental meeting 2014 via a booth presentation and live broadcast in both English and Spanish followed by another booth presentation at the M-Health summit 2014 in DC.
In addition, the Android version of the Text2Floss App was released in both English and Spanish for a free download.