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How to give more OHI?

Hello, so a lot times I run out of ideas for giving pts OHI. I don’t want to just clean their teeth & not recommend anything. My go to recommendations are the sonicare & airfloss if they’re not flossing. But I need more ideas. I feel like I’m too quiet & I’m not giving them enough recommendations. But at the same time, a lot of pts don’t seem responsive when I do recommend aides. Any suggestions would help!

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2 Answers

The biggest thing when it comes to recommending products is individualizing your recommendations to the patients’ needs, there is no “cookie cutter” option that fits all patients. If a patient isn’t cleaning interdentally with string floss, there are so many other options out there. There are a plethora of floss aides like Gum Chucks and Listerine Ultraclean Access flossers. I am a huge fan of interdental brushes, specifically Tepe. The biggest thing with interdental brushes is that you size the brushes to the patients’ embrasure space. Tepe has webinars that explain how to do this. I would suggest spending some time looking at all of the interdental cleaning products on the market and choosing what works for your patients.

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Everything is very patient-specific in our world and you will always have patients that are very receptive to your recommendations as well as patients that just coudn’t care less. I feel like patients are more receptive if you can first tell the WHY taking care of their teeth is so important. I like to get sciencey on them.
First, I always like to highlight what they are doing right. I will tell them it’s great that you are brushing in the morning and using mouthwash everyday, but it’s very important to brush right before bed. After you brush in the morning then you have coffee, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When you go to bed without brushing, you’re leaving a buffet of food for the bacteria to eat which can lead to cavities and gum disease. If they ask why they need to brush in the morning if they just brushed at night and haven’t eaten, I will tell them bacteria multiply more during the night. When a large group of bacteria get together they don’t smell good…like the left over container left in your fridge for who knows how long. It’s important to brush and cut down the number of bacteria.
With flossing, I ask pt’s to imagine if they only brushed as often as they floss. “Oh, I only brush my teeth once a week.” (I always say how ever often they have told me they floss) Imagine how your teeth would feel as you run your tongue over them. They’d have fuzzy plaque-sweaters. That’s how you leave the sides of your teeth anytime you choose not to floss. Just because you can’t feel it, doesn’t mean it’s not important to clean there.
Giving pt’s gross visuals really hits home with a lot of people. The floss thing works GREAT for those people how brush 2x/day every day but do not floss at all.
i tell patients that the bacteria gets stronger the longer it sits undisturbed on the tooth surface. The stronger the bacteria, the more likely it is to cause disease like cavities and gum disease. I will tell them you have the begining signs of gum disease, bleeding here, here, and here or point to existing restorations of x-rays and tell then “you seem to always get cavities btwn the teeth, that’s why it’s so important to floss.” I also love to show them plaque in the mirror.
Hope this helps, even though I may have over-loaded you. Teaching OHI is my passsssion!

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