As dentists, we know that the foods we choose to eat can have a significant effect on our teeth. But we get so wrapped up in repairing teeth all day that we often forget to educate our patients about their diet and the effects it can have when it comes to their oral health.
The practice of prevention is one of the most successful relationship-building strategies doctors can employ with their patients. Patients are always interested in preventing disease and in stopping the progression of any decay or disease they may have.
You can build relationships with your patients by discussing a proper and balanced diet with them. Doctors who really spend time discussing all of the aspects of their patients’ health ultimately win over their attention and, most importantly, their trust, which will ensure returning patients and, hopefully, a referral!
The Dental Journey
When patients come to you, they are usually looking for you to solve a problem they are having. Patients don’t realize that they are seeing you as part of their dental journey Dental Chair. They feel that if you fix their problem, the issue won’t come up again. We want to remind our patients that nothing is permanent and that they have come to us to help them with their oral health.
Repairing teeth is only half of our obligation as dentists. If we repair Class V decay but do not solve the root of the problem—maybe the patient has xerostomia, for example—then we are only doing half of our job, because what we repaired can have recurrent decay.
Look at each patient’s first visit as an opportunity to get as much information as you can. Make sure to obtain information from them about their diet. Ask about their eating habits, including what and how often they eat, their drinking habits, and whether they smoke or not. Of course, also ask what medications they are taking, because it’s important to see if any of them will cause dry mouth.
Make sure when you are asking these questions that you explain why you are asking them so you don’t offend your patients. To make your patients even less defensive, give examples of things you used to do that created problems for you. After gathering your data, discuss the pros and cons of your findings.
The Perils of Dry Mouth
One component that we do not focus on enough is to remind our patients to stay hydrated dental file. Water is so important for the body, and, of course, for the patient’s oral health. Water helps wash away food particles that may cling to teeth. It also helps form saliva, which is the mouth’s defense against decay.
Explain to your patients that saliva production helps inhibit the formation of plaque and that it helps neutralize acids in their mouth that would otherwise erode their tooth enamel. As an added bonus, let them know that staying hydrated will help them avoid bad breath! Hydration is especially important if your patients suffer from dry mouth.
There has been a big change in the United States with an increase in chronic pain management and an emerging population of elders seeking dental treatment. With all of our advances in dentistry, elders nowadays still have most of their teeth, whereas before, they had dentures. Due to the increase in levels of people seeking all kinds of medical treatment, the use of medications has greatly increased. Most of these medications contribute to dry mouth, causing rampant decay.
You have to see if your patients are willing to drink more water. Instead of burdening your patients and telling them to have 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, try to empower them by making them feel that they are doing something healthy for themselves to accomplish a goal. One tip that you can give your patients is to take a small sip of water each time they think about drinking water dental equipment. Your patients will be surprised at the amount of water they end up drinking throughout the day.