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Oral-B toothbrush app update lets users get feedback from dentist

Procter & Gamble?s update of its Oral-B toothbrushing mobile application allows users to receive direct feedback and recommendations from dentists and hygienists, pointing to mobile?s value in fostering healthy habits.

The update, unveiled at the 2015 annual GSMA Mobile World Congress meeting in Barcelona, Spain, continues the personalizing of the Oral-B App which is paired with a Bluetooth-connected toothbrush and has been downloaded nearly 300,000 times since its launch last year. With the possibility of rewards programs coming to the app, the new features point to how mobile can be leveraged to extend quality dental care beyond the dentist?s chair and into the patient?s home.

"The Oral-B toothbrush app provides evidence that apps are not an add-on to our lives, but are integrated into our lives,? said Jamie Turner, founder/CEO of 60 Second Communications, Atlanta, GA 

?As time goes on, we'll see more and more apps that help people lead healthier, more productive lives.?

Brushing longer
When first unveiled last summer, the Oral-B toothbrushing app?s main goal was getting consumers to brush longer, with less force and more in line with their dental professionals' recommendations.

Teaching good oral hygiene.

The updated app now lets dentists and hygienists give advice on how patients should brush by adding brushing time or focusing on specific areas of the mouth. 

Patients can also share how well they are doing with their hygienist or dentist through the app and get feedback.

Oral-B will open an application programming interface and software development kit in October that will let users become part of the increasingly connected oral care digital experience by working with third parties.

The app leverages the mobile device?s microphone to pick up on the sound frequency when either an Oral-B Professional or Oral-B Deep Sweep power brush is used.

The app includes a timer that lets consumers set a two-minute brushing session, which is the recommended amount of time that dentists suggest for brushing your teeth.

The timer is also broken up into sections so consumers know how much time to allocate to each part of their mouth when brushing their teeth.

During the timed session, the app pulls in a feed of news events, weather, tips and calendar events to keep consumers entertained while they brush their teeth.

The app also includes a section with statistics that break down brushing sessions weekly and monthly to give consumers an idea of how effective they are at brushing their teeth.

The app also alerts consumers when it is time to swap out their brush head.

Oral-B?s app also integrates with P&G?s everyday program that lets consumers receive samples, email newsletters and coupons.

Zeroing in on tough-to-reach areas.

Worldwide oral care behavior has improved since the SmartSeries and Oral-B App were rolled out at Mobile World Congress last year, Oral-B said, citing app data.

Oral-B electric toothbrush users now brush on average two minutes and 24 seconds ? up from less than one minute with a manual toothbrush. More than half of recorded brushing sessions included flossing, rinsing and tongue cleaning. 

Eighty-three brushing sessions with the app are over two minutes, with a global average brushing duration of 2:24.

Approximately 60 percent of brushing sessions are leveraging the rinsing, flossing and tongue cleaning App reminders, for a more holistic oral care routine.

The app also has helped users achieve thorough brushing across all areas of the mouth.

The update lets users select journeys to fit their oral care goals. A dental professional can provide direct recommendations and feedback within the app to help users' achieve oral care goals, including whiter teeth for an upcoming wedding, or fresh breath for food lovers.  

A dental professional can add extra brushing time for certain areas in the mouth and provide specific brushing and interdental cleaning instructions to follow at home.

Patients can share their performance record with their hygienist and dentist via email, to help advance oral care routines.

Beginning in late 2015, the app will allow users to voluntarily integrate their oral care information into other digital programs. This feature could potentially provide an opportunity for users to be rewarded for good brushing behavior through reward programs. 

The Oral-B SmartSeries electric toothbrush with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity is now available in more than 20 markets in Western Europe, North America and Asia. By the summer of 2015, the brush will be available in nearly 50 global markets. 

Direct path
Consumer-packaged-goods brands have a significant opportunity to leverage mobile because of their reach even though some have been slow to adopt mobile and digital marketing. However, apps are a main way that CPG brands are using mobile to create a direct path between a consumer and a brand.

Providing value-added content.

Oral-B?s new app is an example of how CPG marketers can load mobile apps with features that keep consumers coming back with value-added content.

?Apps like this one provide real-time data both to the user, and the company who created the app,? Mr. Turner said. ?This is good on a micro level because it allows the user to incorporate health-related data into their daily lives.

?It's also good on a macro level because it allows the app maker, in this case Oral-B, to take data and use it to improve the app and improve the dental health of users around the globe," he said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York