Title: 0756 - Mobile Apps for Oral Health: Themes, Users, and Outcomes


Alaa Qari (Presenter)
Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine

Kadambari Rawal, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine
Belinda Borrelli, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine


Objectives: In the US, 77% of people own smartphones, with no differences by race/ethnicity and only a slight decrease in ownership for those below the poverty level (67%; Pew, 2018). Apps show promise to reach populations in real–life settings to provide oral health (OH) assessment and education. Mobile apps focusing on OH have not been comprehensively reviewed. The goal of this study is to perform a scoping review to describe and characterize mobile apps that target OH and report on their usability and efficacy.

Methods: A scoping review was conducted in medical and technical literature in November 2018, following PRISMA guidelines. A keyword search resulted in 1416 articles. Inclusion criteria were: focus on assessing OH knowledge and behavior using mobile apps; smartphone or tablet device-compatible; target dental patients, practitioners, and/or students; and focus on program development or app testing. Non-English papers were excluded. After screening, n=27 studies were included. Papers were coded for: target of the app, features, effectiveness in changing the target behavior, and usability. Thematic analysis was conducted.

Results: Apps focused on 9 different dental specialties. Nine apps were developed for clinicians, 3 for students,16 for patients, and 4 for research purposes. Thirty-two dental apps were identified across 29 papers. Of those apps, only 9 were based on clinical guidelines. Nine papers reported methods of app development, 5 evaluated whether the app was effective in improving OH knowledge, and 10 assessed effectiveness in improving OH clinical practices. Two studies tested users’ attitude, acceptance, and pattern of app utilization. Usability and user satisfaction of OH apps were tested using different tools such as focus groups and interviews (n=6 studies), heuristic evaluation (n=4 studies), satisfaction (e.g. system usability scale)(n=3 studies), general surveys (n=8 studies) and usability testing (n=3 studies). The main app functions highlighted in the included studies were goal setting (n=4), user’s calendar (n=4), appointment/behavior reminder (n=6), communication (n=5), data collection (n=6), and symptom tracking (n=3).

Conclusions: Our study provides insights about available apps in OH, and information about which apps used rigorous methods development and are guided by clinical guidelines.

Student Presenter

Disclosure Statement:
The submitter must disclose the names of the organizations with which any author have a relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the clinical or research area involved. The following is submitted: NONE