Behind every smile is teeth

"Only brush the want to keep..."

Behind every smile is teeth.

Measuring oral care activity.
Noldus Consultant: Jason Rogers, PhD
Case study write up: Abbe Macbeth, PhD and Jason Rogers, PhD

We all know what is advisable for proper dental health…but who follows these instructions to the letter, every day? The ADA recommends that anyone with teeth brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time. To encourage this healthy habit, companies have developed phone/tablet apps, and even YouTube videos to help you count to 120 (such as 2-Minute Timed Tooth Brushing for Kids).

Of course, brushing isn’t the only part…the ADA also recommends regular, daily flossing between all teeth to prevent cavities and gingivitis.

We all know this. But do we follow these simple guidelines?

In order to better market oral care products, it helps to know the actual oral care routine, carried out in the home by average adults, day in and day out.

We could ask people these questions via survey, but we are then likely to fall prey to acquiescence bias, where respondents want to please the survey takers, and say “Yes!” There is also a great deal of social pressure to respond as if you are the ideal tooth brusher/flosser.

Additionally, it is very difficult for consumers to respond accurately about something that becomes an unconscious habit, as tooth brushing is.

Getting to know the consumer

How accurately could you answer these questions:

  • Which did you pick up first this morning: your tooth brush, or tooth paste?
  • How did you apply your tooth paste to the brush?
  • Which teeth did you brush first: top or bottom?
  • How long did you brush each set of teeth? How long was your total brushing time?
  • Do you repeat brushing over any teeth?
  • Do you brush or floss first? Are you consistent in this pattern?
  • Do you brush in the morning, or evening?

Without being able to accurately gather answers to these and similar questions, researchers cannot fully capture the details of this very important daily habit. This means that the best way to understand oral care is to actually study oral care behavior in the home!

Behavioral Observations hold a wealth of information relevant to product development, governmental organizations, and even dentists.

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