Preventing Periodontitis: Educating Your Patients on Gum Health With GHP

DATE: Oct 06, 2017 
AUTHOR: Mandy Dennis, RDH

Preventing periodontitis first means preventing gingivitis. Dental hygienists have an amazing amount of knowledge they want to share with their patients! There could never be enough time to explain to a patient everything that dental hygienists need to explain, so that's why you should integrate certain tools to make the education component of the appointment much more efficient and effective.

Saying the Same Old Spiel?

How many times have you left a doctor's appointment and felt as if you were a checklist? Do you see your own patients and ever feel you are going through the motions of care? Dental hygienists are very systematic in nearly everything they do. For example, you may always start the prophy in the lower left buccal quadrant. You may have the same conversation memorized about what periodontal disease is and use the same script in telling a patient about gum health.

Dental hygienists may get so caught up on the checklist of care that they may forget that the patient is a unique individual. Are you giving them the tools to be successful when they leave the office, or are you using the same pamphlets, which may have faded due to the years they've sat on an office shelf? If you tell every patient the same thing appointment after appointment, you may be seeing similar, poor results appointment after appointment.

Now is the time to emphasize education, especially about preventing periodontitis, with a fresh approach as opposed to just a hand mirror, verbal explanations and boring pamphlets.

Using Technology to Its Fullest

Colgate has invested in dental hygienists by providing educational tools to help them properly communicate with patients. Visual representations, like flip charts and pictures, are a great start, but they may fall short in capturing some patients' attention. With the rise and portability of technology, patients are well-versed in reading materials on smartphones and tablets. Why not leverage that technology to engage patients in their oral health?

Colgate's Gum Health Physical (GHP) was specifically designed for dental hygienists! It's an easy tool to use. There isn't anything to purchase or download so there isn't an additional cost to the practice or an extended cost to the patient. You can customize each patient's information to explain your recommendations. From there, you can print or email the information to them so they can remember your recommendations when they get home.

GHP is easy to use and easy to understand. There are multiple components to GHP that can be used consistently, such as the customized report indicating what you offered and what you are recommending. By involving patients and giving them the tools to succeed, you may help them reduce and prevent gingivitis, and stop the advancement of periodontal disease.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

GHP itself doesn't eradicate periodontal disease. Rather, the explanations, diagrams and the recommended products help patients take ownership and improve their oral health. How many times do your patients forget what you recommended? Incorporate GHP to personalize recommendations, give them their report and see the follow-through at their next appointment.


  • Remember to identify the needs for your specific patient.
  • Leverage technology, like GHP, to represent the areas they need to pay more attention to.
  • Provide patients with take-home resources to emphasize what you talked about during their appointment.

Why It's Important

Dental hygienists may get caught up in a routine of seeing patients and explaining concepts. Now is the time to switch up your routine and adopt tools beyond a hand mirror to explain oral health to patients. Gum Health Physical allows you to tailor care and recommendations to each person and provides them with a reminder they can take home.