We love texting. Roughly 85% of American adults own cell phones and three-quarters of them (73%) send and receive text messages. And, according to the Pew Research Center, heavy text users prefer texting to talking. Some 55% of those who exchange more than 50 messages a day say they would rather get a text than a voice call.
Given these statistics, it makes sense that a New Zealand research study find that young adults are more likely to brush and floss their teeth if they are prompted with text messages.
In their study of more than 150 young people, self-reported tooth brushing increased from 51% to 74% as a result of receiving text messages. And, researchers say, attrition was across the board, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity.
Dental health officials have long found that young adults, particularly those on welfare and who are unemployed, often neglect their oral health. Some doctors say this group of individuals tend NOT to view oral health as an integral part of their well-being.
Perhaps, motivational text messages will change that.
Text messages have also been proven success in delivering motivational messages in other health domains like smoking cessation and healthy eating. Researchers say they hope more research on specialized text message health alerts will ultimately lead to informed oral health campaigns, and healthier teeth and mouths in people around the world.