Patient education tools in the pandemic world

DATE: September 2020
AUTHOR:
Louise Sinclair

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced significant changes to the way dental hygienists practice. As we adapt our procedures and infection control efforts, we find ourselves needing more chairside time to spend with our patients and for infection control.

While safety and infection control must remain a priority in the dental office, there are tools we can leverage to maintain our high standards of patient education throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Gum Health Physical

Even without the constraints of a pandemic, it can be challenging for patients to understand, remember, and follow our oral health advice. This can result in poor compliance and a higher incidence of preventable conditions like periodontal disease -- a problem that may be magnified under the current circumstances.

Colgate Professional’s Gum Health Physical is a free interactive tool that helps to reinforce your gum care recommendations. It begins with an in-office gum health evaluation, during which areas of focus can be highlighted on the screen with a single click. You can then email or print out a customized report, featuring gum health recommendations for your patient to follow at home. Finally, you can refer them to relevant educational videos to demonstrate your recommendations.

With a tool like the Gum Health Physical, you can be confident that it will help your patient understand and remember your guidance. You can save valuable time in each appointment, while increasing your patient’s compliance and long-term oral health outcomes.

Colgate Video Library

The Colgate Professional Video Library offers a comprehensive range of videos to help your patients become active partners in their oral health. It features short instructional videos demonstrating proper oral hygiene techniques, as well as educational videos explaining common oral health conditions like dental caries, gingivitis, and periodontitis.

These videos allow your patients to learn at their own pace, in their own time. You can also supplement the videos with informative, easy-to-follow articles on Colgate’s Oral Care Center, where a wide range of oral health topics for people of all ages is covered.

Smart Toothbrushes

Videos are great for demonstrating proper oral hygiene techniques to our patients. Now, technology is taking it a step further with toothbrushes that can actively guide them! Take Colgate's hum toothbrush, for example.

The hum is a smart toothbrush designed to act as a brushing “coach.” The connected app uses artificial intelligence to track toothbrushing frequency, duration and coverage, and provides personalized recommendations to improve the effectiveness of toothbrushing. To incentivize good oral hygiene, users also earn “smile points” for positive habits like reaching every tooth or never forgetting to brush, which they can then trade for rewards.

With the demands placed upon us by COVID-19, it’s certainly a challenging time for dental hygienists to impart patient education. However, by taking advantage of the tools and technology available to us, we can use our limited time together to ensure that our patients are equipped and empowered to continue their oral health care at home.