Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is in rise among children, especially from poor families. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry about 60% of US children will have had caries at some point by age 5. Mostly affected by ECC are children from minority families, parents with low education level and single mothers. Not only are these families are the less likely to be exposed to some fundamental information for example around dental hygiene, they also have less access to free (pediatric) dentists.
Baby teeth require special protection, thorough and gentle care. The enamel of these teeth is not yet fully developed like in adult teeth and is therefore to decay. Daily cleaning of young teeth and gums during this sensitive phase is the foundation for strong, healthy teeth as an adult.
The lack of easily available and applicable knowledge around the care of baby teeth as well as a lot of misconception (“baby teeth will fall out anyway, no need to worry about them!”) are a first obstacle. Campaigns can help to create awareness...but that is not enough if your 2 year old doesn´t open his mouth, bite the toothbrush, or cries. Parents needs to be encouraged (and maybe reminded) that each day counts and that skipping a brushing is not only bad for their child´s teeth but breaks the routine and disrupts the brushing habit. A child who wins the battle over brushing or not brushing is more likely to battle again the next day to skip another brushing before bed time.
here how technology can help:
an app for smart phones provides information, Q&A, and all what parents need to know about baby teeth care. A map can help find the nearest pediatric dentist or specialized help. with the help of short videos it´s possible to see other parents brushing their 3 year old her teeth while singing a fun song, brushing the doll´s teeth first...all inspiration that will make teeth brushing less stressful.
when it´s time for teeth brushing the app will remind the parent providing an age based quick idea to help them making teeth brushing fun for the child.
connected to the app is a little bathroom widget that changes color based if it´s time for teeth brushing. walking into the bathroom is will remind parents and child alike that it´s time to start brushing again. after the teeth are brushed the widget will send a start to the app for an electronic brush&floss chart.