The effect of mobile text messages and a novel floss holder on gingival health: a randomized control trial

Mário Rui Araújo, Maria João Alvarez, Cristina A. Godinho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of using mobile text messages and a novel floss holder as compared to finger flossing or the novel floss holder alone, on the psychological, behavioral, and clinical parameters of patients with gingivitis.Methods: A total 165 adults were assessed for eligibility and 144 met the criteria for randomization into three groups: Finger Floss (FF, n=43), Novel Floss Holder (NFH, n= 40), and Novel Floss Holder plus Text Messages (NFH+TM, n= 61) following a dental hygiene consultation appointment. Gingival bleeding points were measured on probing (BOMP) at baseline and four months later by a calibrated dental hygienist, blinded to the experimental groups. Participants also self-reported their oral hygiene behaviors, and indicated psychological determinants of behavior change prior to the dental hygiene consultation and at four months. Descriptive statistics and repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to compare groups over time.Results: Two subjects dropped out of the study making the total number of participants 142. At the four month follow-up, the NFH group and the NFH+TM groups demonstrated significantly higher levels of self-reported flossing, action self-efficacy, intention, action planning, and action control. The NFH+TM group showed lower levels of bleeding and higher levels of oral hygiene and recovery self-efficacy than the other groups, in addition to higher levels of maintenance self-efficacy as compared to the FF group.Conclusions: The use of a novel floss holder, NFH, was shown to improve the behavioral and psychological determinants of periodontal health four months after introduction of the device. However the clinical measures of BOMP only improved significantly when used in conjunction with text messages (NFH+TM). The use of a consciousness awareness technique,TMs, in combination with a novel device, may help patients to reach therapeutic objectives and contribute to the management of periodontal pathologies such as gingivitis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of dental hygiene : JDH
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Flossing
  • Gingivitis
  • Interdental cleaning
  • Mobile text messages
  • Oral hygiene
  • Oral self-care
  • Patient motivation


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