Brushing Up on Oral Care

How to Get Patients Reinvested in Their Gum Health

2021 has been hailed as the year of the comeback. That’s particularly true for the dental profession, as we continue welcoming patients back to offices. Dr. Jonathan Levine, Co-Founder of GLO Science, recently summarized this challenging yet exciting new chapter with an inspiring message of hope: “COVID-19 threatened to turn our practice and passions upside down. We had to reinvent ourselves for both our patients and team. And with the power of creativity, anything is possible.”

The flip side of having so many possibilities and fresh starts is that we also find ourselves playing catchup and needing to establish new regimens. Missed or delayed appointments, stress related conditions, and neglectful at-home routines have caused oral health dilemmas for both patients and practitioners. When dental practices were unable to provide elective dental procedures, the use of services fell up to 75% — a grim reality for the industry. And even though studies increasingly show that gum disease has been markedly linked to COVID severity and complications, along with other ailments such as diabetes and heart disease, it has still not been enough to promote best practices at home. How can we help our patients get back on track?

Educate

We’re all too familiar with the link between poor oral health and systemic diseases. Studies show a correlation between periodontal disease and inflammation, leading to heart attacks, strokes, and asthmatic conditions. “Periodontal disease is an inflammatory process, and we know that chronic inflammation is linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Christine Jellis, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

While we’d like to think this is enough to encourage routine dental visits, the truth is, much of the general public remain unphased or uninformed (or worse, misinformed). With gum disease being a highly treatable condition, it’s our job to educate patients on the pivotal role that proper dental care plays in protecting and enhancing their well-being - both physically and mentally.

The message is clear. A missed checkup may have more dire consequences than just plaque build-up or an embarrassing case of bad breath; it can lead to much more serious health issues. Patient education needs to highlight the importance of regular oral care, which has never been more relevant. Oral health is linked to better overall health, and the time to reclaim both is now.

Encourage

There’s power in a good pep talk, and perhaps that’s just what’s needed to reboot oral care visits. As we know, the potential damage from delaying dental care is often worse than the initial issue. This doesn't mean that you should bring out the scare tactics. Rather, introduce smart, preventative care communicated in a positive manner.

Encourage patients to schedule (and keep) checkups and create healthy habits at home. Incentivize office visits, and make your practice a place where they want to be. A friendly environment with updated amenities is just the boost needed to take dental visits from being dreaded to a dream. Once they’ve returned to the office, create a maintenance schedule to ensure proper care is also upheld at home.

Evolve

Dental offices are operating differently post-pandemic. From appointment scheduling to safety procedures like temperature checks and physical barriers, it’s safe to say we’ve officially developed a “new normal.” Let’s embrace the change and ask the same from our patients.

Offer products that you not only endorse personally, but have proven results. With a world of information available at their fingertips, it’s easy for them to find oral care items online, but they’re coming to you as the expert for what trulyworks. GLO’s ECO Balance and Twice Toothpaste make a winning combination for gum health. ECO has been clinically proven to reduce plaque, prevent decay, and soothe puffy gums. Together, both help balance the mouth’s pH for overall better oral health, leading to healthier smiles and happier patients.

With a little creativity and support, patients will have their gum health back in check in no time. COVID-19 may have changed the landscape of the dental profession permenantly, but it hasn’t stopped us. It’s time we return to providing the utmost care, and lasting health, to our practices.

Sources:
https://nyulangone.org/news/new-york-times-magazine-how-pandemic-taking-serious-toll-our-oral-healt

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0578/0981/files/Levine_et_al_2020_ECO_Balance.pdf?v=1595429742

It Starts With Gum Disease. But It Can Lead to a Lot Worse. - WSJ

Study: How COVID-19 Affected the Dental Industry | Healthiest Communities | US News