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Connected Oral Health: Applications of Connected Brushes in Prevention and Practice

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Dr M Goodwin, Dr George Kitsaras, Dr Richard Hogan  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Recently, the availability of connected devices aimed at improving oral health has increased. These ‘smart’ toothbrushes provide an ability for users to not only track their oral hygiene routines in association with mobile applications but to receive personalised coaching which aims to improve their toothbrushing efficacy. From a research perspective, access to this data provides an opportunity to authentically monitor brushing behaviours outside of the professional environment with a high degree of fidelity. 

This research aims to explore the utility of harnessing this connected oral health data as part of an innovative approach to delivering effective prevention in a primary care setting. Specifically, through the triangulation of existing dental care records/disease history, contemporaneous brushing data collected via connected toothbrushes and changes in oral health over a defined time period, this research aims to advance our understanding of an individual's behaviour and related health factors over disease progression and develop a new preventative intervention aimed at instigating, and maintaining, oral health behaviour change in a primary care setting. 

Through the provision of connected toothbrushes, longitudinal data collected at-home will provide insights into authentic oral hygiene practices for these individuals. By providing access to this data to the primary care teams, a novel approach to clinical preventive advice as part of routine dental visits will be explored. In addition, there is potential for remote coaching/prompts which could be achieved via the associated mobile application. The overall aim is to explore and validate the utility of harnessing data collected from smart oral health devices alongside routinely collected data through clinical records, for the longitudinal improvement of oral health, to modernise and enhance the impact of delivering prevention in practice.

Entry Requirements

Applicants are expected to hold (or about to obtain) a minimum upper second class undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent) in dentistry, oral health sciences, public health, statistics or similar. A Master's degree in a relevant subject and/or experience in dentistry, public health, dental public health is desirable

Applicants interested in this project should make direct contact with the Primary Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible.

How To Apply

To be considered for this Studentship you MUST submit a formal online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/

Please select Dental Health Sciences under academic programme when completing your online application.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/equality-diversity-inclusion/

Funding Notes

Studentship funding is for a duration of 3 years to commence in September 2022 and covers UKRI equivalent fees and stipend (£16,062 per annum 22/23)
Funding will cover UK tuition fees and stipend only. The University of Manchester aims to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK. We are able to offer a scholarship that will enable a full studentship to be awarded to international applicants. This full studentship will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this funding.


Hogan, R, Pretty, IA & Ellwood, RP. 2019, Fibre-Optic Transillumination: FOTI. in A Zandona & C Longbottom (eds), Detection and Assessment of Dental Caries: A Clinical Guide. Springer Nature, pp. 139-150.
Kitsaras, G., Allan, J. & Pretty, I.A. 2020, Bedtime Routines Intervention for Children (BRIC) using an automated text messaging system for behaviour change: study protocol for an early phase study. Pilot Feasibility Stud 6, 14
Hogan, R, Goodwin, M, Boothman, N, Iafolla, T & Pretty, IA. 2018, Further opportunities for digital imaging in dental epidemiology, Journal of Dentistry, vol. 74, pp. S2-S9
McKenzie, KW & Pretty, IA. 2018, Connected toothbrushes: Bridging the gap to personalized oral health, American journal of dentistry, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 115-120.
Liu Z, Gomez J, Khan S, Peru D, Ellwood R. 2017 Red fluorescence imaging for dental plaque detection and quantification: pilot study. J Biomed Opt. 9, 1-10
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