There’s never a better time to promote preventive dental care than during Dental Hygiene Month. Good oral health can help patients prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. But most people aren’t aware that an unhealthy mouth, especially one with gum disease, can also lead to poor physical health—putting them at risk for serious health issues like a heart attack, stroke or poorly controlled diabetes. It’s not always easy to get patients to actively participate in their dental care, but there are ways to motivate them. Here are five ways to do just that.
- Provide Basic Dental Hygiene Tips – Educating patients on basic dental hygiene tips is crucial for their overall health, but it’s not always easy to get their attention. On-hold messaging offers the perfect medium for providing patients with these basic dental health tips while they are on hold:
- Brushing twice a day and flossing daily
- Scheduling an appointment if they have bleeding gums, which could be a sign of gingivitis
- Changing their toothbrush every 3-4 months
- Staying on top of regularly scheduled cleanings
- Remind Them to Eat a Healthy Diet – Most patients don’t understand the role diet can play in their dental health. Using your website, you can share facts, tips, and even infographics to educate patients on the importance of eating foods rich in antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C that help protect tissues and gums and prevent bacterial infections. The American Dental Association suggests eating foods containing calcium, like almonds and leafy greens, as well as phosphorus-rich foods like eggs and fish to keep enamel healthy.
- Suggest Rinsing or Chewing Gum After a Meal – If patients don’t want to brush or floss after a meal, encourage them to at least rinse (use an antibacterial rinse) or chew sugar-free gum instead. Both only take a few seconds and help wash away bacteria and maintain a healthy acid balance. You can post these and other helpful tips on your social media platforms or your website as well.
- Encourage Regular Dental Check-Ups – Most experts advise a dental check-up every six months, especially if patients have gingivitis. To help keep them on track with their care and retain appointment revenue, schedule automated appointment reminders to help patients prevent serious oral health issues. Plus, automated appointment reminders are known to reduce no-shows by an average of 25%-30%.
- Offer Electric Toothbrushes & Flossers – Some patients have difficulty brushing and flossing their teeth. It could be due to a small mouth, arthritis, or other issues. Whatever the case, you can still promote proper cleaning by encouraging patients to use an electric toothbrush or water flosser. And, if your practice sells these products in your office, this is a great opportunity to include that information as part of your on-hold messaging.
These tips will help your dental practice educate your patients on ways to keep their teeth healthy while giving them opportunities to build a healthier lifestyle. For 10 ways to use technology to engage patients and grow your dental practice, click here. Or, learn more about protecting your practice’s financial well-being by downloading our free white paper, Improving the Financial Health of Your Dental Practice.