Should we focus more on public education about oral hygiene and dental products?

public education from a hygienist or therapistAmber Ojak questions whether dental professionals should spend more time publishing advice for the general public to access.

As a hygiene therapist I am constantly faced with patients asking questions about oral hygiene. They question myths they’ve heard about dental products and the increasing awareness of links between periodontal disease and other diseases. In the last 12 months the number of articles focusing on many of the topics members of the public pick up on has increased.

I am sure that many dental professionals read the article published about Oral-B’s Glide floss. It focused on one particular American study. This article scare mongered quite a few patients into thinking flossing would give them cancer or infertility issues! I was surprised to hear how the article states that flossing makes no difference to oral hygiene. This conflicts with everything a hygienist or therapist teaches patients on a daily basis.

The most interesting thing about this revelation was how quickly members of the public were picking up on this. If this news impacts opinions so quickly, how long would it take to educate the general public on factual information? This could be a real benefit to the profession.

Maybe having more public educational sources in the news or discussions would stop rumours. Rumours I have recently come across include: ‘It was the blueberries which caused the staining, not the eight weeks worth of Corsodyl use’ or ‘Floss causes recession so I can’t use it’.

Public education

Most recently I have also come across the increasing awareness of patients picking up on how periodontal disease can lead to other diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems in the body. Patients have come to me in sheer panic, worrying that...

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