In a recent interview with Professors Nicola West and Tim Newton, they spoke about how dental professionals can build on the support they already provide to their patients to try to achieve improved plaque control.
Nicola: For me, it’s at BPE 1. That is when I would like dentists to instigate oral hygiene advice. And, if possible, send their patients to the dental hygienist.
Educating patients about prevention is key at this point, rather than not intervening until later at BPE 3 or 4. This is often when dental professionals think it’s time to take action.
Transitioning to habit
Tim: I think part of that plan should be how to change the patient’s behaviour. This is going to be a very gradual process of change, until they form new habits.
We need to think more, after making the behaviour change, how you turn this into a habit and how you maintain it.
Self-monitoring is also important in this transition to habit. Start off by seeing how well patients are doing something and how often they are doing it. See how successful they are in making any change, and whether they keep it going.
If you can fully understand your patient’s values and goals, then you can work with them to achieve shared, valued goals. Goals that fit in with the framework of looking after their gums, teeth and mouth.
To read the interview in full visit here: www.dentistry.co.uk/2020/12/02/managing-oral-hygiene-healthy-habits.