Rethinking Outdated Dental Advice

In August 2016, the New York Times surprised many Americans with its article, “Feeling Guilty About Not Flossing? Maybe There’s No Need.” Questioning the accuracy of research studies promoting the virtues of daily flossing, the article revealed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services had quietly eliminated recommendations on flossing in their most recent dietary guidelines. This left many diligent dental patients wondering if the dental advice they’ve followed for years may need some updating.

The NY Times article certainly generated a fair amount of controversy. Many dental experts offered their opinion as the issue played out in both dental offices and public forums. The larger point was dentistry suddenly found itself in the news, which is rare. The situation presented an opportunity for dentists to reach out to their patients and communicate their thoughts on the topic, as well as other issues impacting their patients’ dental health.

Although there have been many innovations in dentistry, there are also strategies and tools that haven’t been carefully considered in generations. The nylon-bristle toothbrush is one such example. First invented more than 80 years ago, there has been minimal advancement in its design since then. Because there is plenty of evidence that nylon-bristle brushes can contribute to gum recession and be a contributing factor in periodontal disease, the time has come to look at alternatives that can effectively clean teeth while protecting fragile gums? This was the impetus for the development of the PeriClean. By replacing abrasive nylon bristles with gentle rubber bristles, food and plaque can be brushed away without the risk of overbrushing.

Dentists as Thought Leaders
With patients having access to an unlimited amount of dental-related content via the Internet, they appreciate, more than ever, the expert advice from a dentist who has taken the time to sort through the hype and offer the most up-to-date, accurate dental advice. In some cases, this may mean contradicting an eye-catching headline. It may also include recommending tips, strategies and tools that may challenge the tried and true practices that we’ve all grown up with over the years. Like with any aspect of healthcare, knowledge is powerful when it comes to dentistry. Dental professionals, who are able to stay on top of the latest innovations, will find that the added benefit of being a true thought leader with valuable advice provides a powerful way to build and sustain a loyal patient base.

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