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How Mobile Technologies Can Change the Way We Interact with Our Patients

Course Number: 602


Mechanical control of biofilm is the primary therapeutic strategy for preventing periodontal diseases. Despite controlling dental biofilm being of paramount importance for preventing the most prevalent oral diseases and to maintain treatments, patients have difficulty adhering. It is known that people thrive on novelty and challenge, seeking new experiences, stimulating activities, and fresh ideas. Under most theories of motivation, the curiosity that results is an approach-oriented motivational state that impels people to explore, learn, and get involved in an interesting event. Another hallmark of human motivation is a personal sense of control, a perceived self-efficacy that results from optimistic beliefs in one’s own capacity to meet a challenge. These beliefs influence readiness and motivation to initiate behavior and expend effort, which is particularly important when approaching novel situations, such as using mHealth technologies in the oral health appointment; these beliefs ultimately make dental hygiene seem easier. Consciousness-raising for health behavior may be facilitated by mobile digital technologies (mHealth) which provides the opportunity to display habit-disrupting cues such as apps, games, curiosity, and push messages. mHealth devices may offer such an opportunity by keeping a goal salient in working memory or by bringing the goal back to working memory at an appropriate time. Moreover, mHealth technologies can foster social support mechanisms, facilitating the creation of an authentic bond and rapport between the patient and the oral health professional and thereby supporting behavioral maintenance.