Discussing the Value of Dental Goodie Bags

DATE: Feb 09, 2018
AUTHOR: Susanna Scherer RDH

Many dental offices invest in a program like the Colgate Advanced Care Plan to provide their patients with quality samples. The samples in dental goodie bags are purchased by the office to encourage better homecare habits and help patients later buy the correct oral care products. However, patients may assume that all samples have been given to the office for free. Additionally, some patients mistakenly believe that the samples should last them until their next appointment. Here are some tips on how to respectfully discuss the value and cost of goodie bags with your patients.

One Per Person

Have you ever had a patient ask, "Can I have a second toothbrush to keep at work?" Or maybe they request an additional brush for a family member. If your office only purchases one sample per patient, requests like this can put you in an uncomfortable position. How do you handle this?

You can reply to your patient by saying, "I love that you would like to have another toothbrush to keep at work! That's a great way to maintain good oral health. However, our office purchases one toothbrush per patient. If I give away more than one per patient I will not have enough for all our patients. I am going to provide you with the toothbrush that I think is best for your oral care needs, and you can purchase additional toothbrushes of the same kind if you are happy with my suggestion." Follow up this discussion with suggestions on where your patient can purchase the products you recommend.

The Value of a Goodie Bag

Beyond the cost of samples, there is great value in dental goodie bags. If patients don't understand the purpose of the products you put in their goodie bag, they may never use them. For example, you've probably heard a patient tell you, "Oh, you don't need to give me that. I have a ton in my bathroom drawer from my previous visits!" It is important to explain to patients why you chose a certain type of toothbrush, toothpaste or interdental cleaner. When patients know that you customize their dental samples to their needs, they will value the products and may be more likely to comply with your recommendations.

Time for Change

Many patients are unaware that they should change their toothbrush in between dental visits. They wait for the free brush they receive in their goodie bag to replace the one they have been using since the last time they visited your office. When discussing the customized goodie bag, you can also discuss the American Dental Association's recommendations for replacing a toothbrush.

It is helpful to explain that the samples are not meant to last until their next visit. Sample sizes of toothpaste are made to last long enough so patients can determine if they are happy with a product. When they purchase the toothpaste in the store, it will usually be a larger size and will last longer.

Providing patients with coupons will encourage them to purchase your recommended products when their samples run out. Coupons also help patients purchase the correct product when they go to the store. Use Gum Health Physical during appointments to create customized take-home notes to help patients remember why you selected the samples you did and to reinforce their oral health needs.


  • Explain tactfully to patients that your office purchases dental samples as a courtesy.
  • Highlight the real value of goodie bags by explaining that you customized the goodie bag to meet your patient's oral health needs.
  • Educate patients about sample sizes and where they can purchase your recommended products.

Why It's Valuable

It is important to be able to communicate to patients that your office values their oral health so much that samples are purchased as a courtesy to them. Not only will they see the value in their goodie bag, they may be more likely to comply with the oral care product recommendations you've made specifically to meet their needs.