Bupa dentist Ben Underwood has been awarded more than £80,000 to help develop Brush DJ – an innovative toothbrush timer app, designed to tackle the growing problem of tooth decay in children. We caught up with Ben, who is a dentist at Bupa Dental Care Eckington, to find out more about the app and his plans for further development.
What is DJ Brush?
Brush DJ is a free toothbrush timer app that plays two minutes of music taken from the user’s device to encourage brushing for an effective length of time. The app also allows users to set reminders to brush twice a day, floss, use mouthwash and when next to see their dentist, hygienist, therapist or orthodontist. The app also gives evidence-based, age specific information from the Public Health England toolkit ‘Delivering Better Oral Health’.
What inspired you to create the app?
I created the free app to help children learn how to look after their teeth and to make the mundane task of brushing for two minutes more enjoyable.
I’ve been practicing at Bupa Dental Care in Eckington for more than a year, so have seen first-hand why we need to educate our children on oral health. On the flipside though, as a parent I also know how hard it can be to get children to brush their teeth!
That’s why I wanted to create something to help make brushing more enjoyable. With Brush DJ children can practice their favourite floss dance moves while maintaining a superstar smile.
How did you feel when you got the £80,000 funding?
The funding comes from the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which pledged £83,330 after the app was recognised as “an innovative new product with the potential to improve patient outcomes”.
The money will be used to explore the opportunity of adding enhanced features to the app, to help further engagement – and ultimately improve children’s oral health. All features will be co-designed with children at highest risk of tooth decay and developed in collaboration with the SBRI. I will then apply for phase two of the programme, and if successful could secure funding of up to £1 million.
It’s amazing not only to have this financial support and recognition, but also access to the expertise of SBRI and its partners. This award will allow us to take Brush DJ to the next level by recruiting a team of experts so that we can reach and help more children at risk of tooth decay.
What are your hopes for the future of the app?
I hope that the Brush DJ app will become the digital solution to better oral health in the UK and around the world, helping children from all backgrounds to grow up free from tooth decay and with a healthy smile.
Why is digital development important in dental?
Digital development is important when it helps people carry out a task more efficiently and effectively. Digital shouldn't be thought of as the only solution, but it can be part of the solution to many problems we face in dentistry and our patients face in maintaining a good oral hygiene routine.